Thai murder victim Hannah Witheridge was laid to rest yesterday – at a funeral called ‘Hannah’s Party’.
Mourners donned bright clothes to celebrate the life of the vivacious 23 year-old, as her family had asked.
Hannah’s battered body was found on a beach on the island of Koh Tao on September 15 next to that of fellow murdered Briton David Miller, 24, from Jersey.
A white horse-drawn hearse with mounted police escort carried her body on her short final journey from her family’s home to the 14th century church in the Norfolk village of Hemsby.
St. Mary The Virgin church was filled by around 170 people with 50 more stood outside in the autumn sun with their heads bowed as Rev Charles Powles led the service.
Locals also lined the road leading to the church to remember Hannah, a University of Essex student.
Her father Tony, sisters Tania and Laura, and brother Paul were among those who gave readings and a video of Hannah was played.
Friend Bill Downs performed several songs and the service ended to the sound of ‘She’s So Lovely’ by Scouting For Girls.
The congregation clapped as the coffin, with pink and purple flowers, left the church for a private burial.
After the service childhood friend Dulcima Cushing, 29, said: “It was a lovely service. It was happy but very, very sad.
“She was a lovely girl, really sweet. I don’t know where the family managed to find the strength to get through the service.”
Rev Powles said: “It was rather an unusual service but I felt it went very well.
“The family planned the whole thing with my help and I think it reflected Hannah’s life.”
He added: “The family is as well as can be expected.”
Earlier this week, Hannah’s family paid tribute to a fun, vibrant and beautiful young woman and said she would be “sorely missed by all who knew her”.
They added: “She was dedicated, ambitious and would have made an amazing difference to the lives of many families through her chosen career as a speech and language therapist.
“As a family we hope that the right people are found and brought to justice.”
Local police say two Burmese workers have confessed to the killings, although it was reported last night that they have retracted their confessions, claiming they were made under duress.