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Friday, 30 August, 2002, 20:46 GMT 21:46 UK
Service remembers Holly and Jessica
Cambridgeshire Police Asst Chief Constable Keith Hoddy bows his head in prayer
Two thousand people packed into Ely cathedral
A poignant service has remembered and celebrated the short lives of 10-year-olds Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells.

The families of the dead schoolgirls led more than 2,000 mourners in an emotional invitation-only service, punctuated by moments of joy and sadness.

Friend of Holly and Jessica comforted at service
Christie Ball, 11, comforted by mother Jill

Among them were the best friends' parents Kevin and Nicola Wells and Sharon and Les Chapman and their families who sat at the head of the congregation at Ely cathedral with Holly and Jessica's brother and sisters.

In a poem he wrote himself, Holly's father Kevin bravely summed up his family's emotions saying: "Heaven's gain, as it knows, is simply you Holly, our beautiful Soham rose."

The service featured several hymns, Bible readings and speeches from senior members of the local clergy and police officers.


Would not the best and most lasting memorial to these two lovely girls be a change for the better in how we behave to each other?

Rev Tim Alban Jones

The first poem, written by Kathleen Golding, a friend of the Chapman family, was read by family liaison officer Detective Constable Brian Stevens.

Entitled Lord of Comfort, it said: "The family are feeling such pain from their loss of their precious daughter and their longing to see her again."

About 150 to 200 police officers who worked on the case also attended the service and special buses were laid on to take Soham residents to the cathedral.

'Trusting, loving girls'

The service was led by the Reverend Tim Alban Jones, of St Andrew's Church, Soham, who warned in his address that a generation of children could grow up without being able to trust anyone as a result of the murders.

He called for a lasting memorial to the two children to be a change in the way people behave towards each other.

"Would not the best and most lasting memorial to these two lovely girls be a change for the better in how we behave to each other?

"Jessica and Holly were two trusting and loving girls and the way they lived is surely the right pattern for us."

Order of Service
The Order of Service

Geoff Fisher, headteacher of St Andrew's School, Soham, read from Corinthians.

Earlier he announced the girls' school would re-open on time for the new autumn term.

He said it would be difficult without them, but the cathedral service was a chance for everyone to embrace their achievements.

The bodies of Holly and Jessica were found on 17 August, two weeks after they disappeared together from their homes.

Former Soham college caretaker Ian Huntley is charged with their murder.

Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman
Mourners celebrated Holly and Jessica's lives

His girlfriend, Maxine Carr, 25, a former teaching assistant, is accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Ms Carr was remanded in custody after appearing in court via video link from Holloway Prison in London on Thursday.

Mr Huntley is being held at a high security hospital under the terms of mental health legislation.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Gavin Hewitt at Ely Cathedral
"Both families wanted this to be a celebration of their daughters' lives"
Rev. Tim Alban Jones
"We have seen our town of Soham brought together and united"
Kevin Wells
Holly's father reads 'Soham's Rose'

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30 Aug 02 | England
30 Aug 02 | England
30 Aug 02 | England
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