Poems interspersed with selections of Tia Sharp’s favourite music were played at an emotional funeral held this morning.
The 12-year-old, who was found dead in a New Addington loft on August 10 was finally laid to rest at North East Surrey Crematorium.
Friends and family formed a funeral cortege, including a horse and carriage bedecked in black and pink, which travelled past Tia’s school Raynes Park High, were hundreds of staff and pupils had lined the streets.
The casket entered the service to Baby Cakes by Three of A Kind, before poems From a Stranger, Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep and If Tears Could Build A Stairway were read Mourners left to Low by Flo Rida.
Tia’s uncle David spoke movingly at a private service, before wreathes were laid at a memorial outside the chapel.
A pamphlet of messages from both close friends but also strangers written to the family following the Pollards Hill girl’s death were also distributed during the service.
One message, signed by Auntie Tina, Tom, Kenz and Carrey Low, stated: “If flowers grow in heaven lord please pick a bunch with care and give them to Tia to show her we care.”
Tia’s father Steven Carter and his close family attended the service before holding a wake in Croydon.
Speaking at the wake he said a further memorial would take place near his home in Northampton where younger relatives unable to attend would light candles in her memory.
He said: “The procession was good, Natalie (Tia’s mother) organised everything, we were just told to come to the service, but the horse and carriage was a nice touch. Some of her teachers spoke about Tia, which was also very moving.”
Tia’s maternal grandmother Christine Sharp attended the funeral despite a previous arrest on suspicion of murder, for which she has been bailed.
Mr Carter said: “She came she went, very quietly. She wasn’t sat with Natalie but she was nearby. People have got to realise she is still under investigation, but of course she is innocent until proven otherwise.”
Philip Wheatley, head teacher at Raynes Park High School described Tia as a “popular and well-liked student.”
He said: “She will be a great loss to our school community. Staff and Students have been greatly affected by her loss.”