Funeral held for ‘little angel’ killed on Isle of Bute
Family and friends of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail, who was killed on the Isle of Bute, have said a tearful farewell to their "little angel" at her funeral.
Alesha had been staying with relatives on the Scottish island, west of Glasgow, before her body was discovered in woodland on 2 July.
A 16-year-old boy appeared in court earlier this month charged with her rape and murder.
Scores of people gathered for the little girl's funeral in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, on Saturday, with many mourners dressed in pink at the family's request.
A pink coffin, featuring an image of a unicorn on the side, was carried by Alesha's father Robert MacPhail and uncle Calum MacPhail.
Dozens of bows were tied to the railings of the building, while cuddly toys including teddies and unicorns lined the wall outside.
During the service mourners heard tributes from people close to Alesha including an emotional speech from her uncle Calum.
He said: "Alesha is everything that I wanted to be, she was kind, caring, smart, I just cannot believe she is gone.
"She was the brightest thing."
Robert MacPhail's girlfriend, Toni McLachlan, gave a tribute, saying: "Alesha, you meant the world to us and everyone you knew.
"That cute, wee face, your hair so blonde, your eyes so sparkly blue.
"Sleep tight, little angel."
Calum was comforted by Alesha's mother, Georgina Lochrane, known as Genie, as he returned to his seat near Alesha's father Robert, little sister Courtney, aged four, and other family members.
Staff from Chapelside Primary School in nearby Airdrie, where Alesha was a pupil, also paid tribute.
Her class teacher Emma Gibson said: "Alesha was a bright and bubbly little girl, she always came into class with that big beautiful smile of hers.
"It was an absolute pleasure to have taught Alesha. I'm so grateful to have known this special little girl."
She added that Alesha loved working on her literacy and handwriting and enjoyed performing in school shows such as The Lion King.
Headteacher Wendy Davie said: "May your smile shine brightly wherever you are, you will always be remembered as our Chapelside star."
The service was led by funeral director Fraser MacGregor, who said Alesha was the "best big sister, best daughter, best granddaughter and friend that anyone could have asked for".
He said that Alesha will always be remembered as a "very loving girl, friendly, good natured and full of love" who enjoyed everything from doing gymnastics and riding her bike to baking cakes, listening to music and watching Peppa Pig.
Mr MacGregor also said that Alesha was fascinated by bubbles and had always wanted a bubble party on her birthday.
More from Scotland
As music played at the end of the service, a bubble machine sent bubbles drifting above the mourners' heads.
People lined the street as the hearse set off for Coltswood Cemetery, followed by two black carriages carrying flowers, and family members in cars.