Manchester terror victim Eilidh MacLeod laid to rest on Barra

Family and friends of Manchester terror victim Eilidh MacLeod have gathered on Barra for her funeral.

Eilidh, 14, was among 22 people who died in the explosion at the Ariana Grande concert on Monday May 22.

The coffin of Eilidh MacLeod draped in the Barra flag  is carried across Traigh Mhor beach at Barra airport after it arrived by chartered plane. The body of the Manchester bomb victim was flown home to the devastated community on the island of Barra ahead of her funeral

The coffin of Eilidh MacLeod draped in the Barra flag is carried across Traigh Mhor beach at Barra airport after it arrived by chartered plane. The body of the Manchester bomb victim was flown home to the devastated community on the island of Barra ahead of her funeral

Her friend Laura MacIntyre, a fellow pupil at Castlebay Community School on the island, was seriously injured in the bombing at Manchester Arena and remains in hospital.

The funeral was held at the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea in Castlebay, about 1,000 people attended.

The mass was also relayed to mourners in nearby Castlebay Hall.

Parish priest Father John Paul MacKinnon said the community had come together as “one big family”.

The hearse carrying the coffin of Eilidh MacLeod

The hearse carrying the coffin of Eilidh MacLeod

He told mourners that Eilidh “packed a lot into her 14 happy years”.

“That’s so important for us to remember today - Eilidh was a happy girl, she had 14 happy years and in the last few days of her life she was the happiest you could ever imagine,” he said.

“The last thing in Eilidh’s life was happiness - she had spent a wonderful weekend away from the island, going shopping, going to nice cafes, going to the cinema and then going to her pop idol’s concert - Ariana.

“She was the happiest she had ever been and that’s what we hold onto today - the happiness of Eilidh’s life.

Traigh Mhor beach, Barra

Traigh Mhor beach, Barra

“Those memories of Eilidh will live on in all our hearts. Every year of her life was precious to us and we thank God for blessing us with her precious life.”

He added: “Roddy and Marion were blessed with a beautiful daughter, Shona and Laura were blessed with a wonderful sister, our island was blessed to have such a young talented girl growing up on it.

“Even though there is a great sadness here today, there is a great thankfulness to God for blessing us with Eilidh’s life. Our loss is heaven’s gain.”

Mr Mackinnon also offered thanks on behalf of Eilidh’s parents.

The coffin of Eilidh MacLeod draped in the Barra flag  is carried across Traigh Mhor beach on Barra

The coffin of Eilidh MacLeod draped in the Barra flag is carried across Traigh Mhor beach on Barra

“The family have been overwhelmed by the great generosity and love that they have received ever since they lost their Eilidh.

“The huge number of prayers and messages and cards and gifts and love and support the family has received has been appreciated and has overwhelmed the family.”

Prayers were also being said for Laura as she continues to be treated in hospital.

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham sent a message and wreath of flowers.

Businesses on the island closed for several hours as a mark of respect and to allow staff to attend the funeral.

A large procession is followed the hearse to Vatersay, an island connected by causeway where she was originally from, for her burial.

The route will pass Eilidh’s school, where the green and white flag of Barra has been flying at half-mast.