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Last Updated: Friday, 11 April, 2003, 13:46 GMT 14:46 UK
Sad memories of murdered Hannah

by Anna Lindsay
BBC News, Southampton

The funeral of Hannah Foster
Mourners were told "to be thankful for the memories"

The grey skies simply highlighted the sadness of the occasion.

On Friday morning, the funeral of murdered teenager Hannah Foster took place in a small church in Highfield, Southampton.

Aside from Hannah's family and many friends, hundreds of mourners turned out to pay their respects to a young woman described by her former English teacher Clive Pitts as "a wonderful young lady".

Many stood in the unseasonably cold weather, to listen to the service from the outside loudspeaker.

As Hannah's parents, Hilary and Trevor, and younger sister Sarah, 14, arrived for "one of the most difficult days" of their lives, they were comforted by the Reverend Graham Archer.

Hannah Foster
"Nothing can bring our beautiful daughter back"
During the service, he told mourners to "be thankful for the memories".

"Your memories cannot be taken away - they are part of her legacy to you," he said.

"Today, those memories will have a painful edge - but they did not at the time."

There was then a moment of silence for private thoughts.

They were told by Mr Archer: "A killer has already taken one life.

"In the handling of your responses, make sure he takes no more."

Hannah Foster's mother and sister
Hannah's parents spoke of "one of the most difficult days of our lives"
Hannah's heartbroken friend, Hayley Watson, bravely decided at the last minute to read a poem she had written for the 17-year-old.

She read: "Hannah, Hannah, softly dream of a golden sun in a valley of green... I feel your magic everywhere, in the breeze on my face and the sun in my hair.

"Dance through the mountains and skip down the stream, Hannah be free, and softly dream."

English teacher Clive Pitts spoke of his former pupil having a "sensitivity way beyond her years", while former history teacher Anne Richardson said Hannah was "possessed of an extraordinary intellect".

Hannah Foster's funeral
Mourners were told to "make the choice to go with life"
Among the many mourners, were murder inquiry detectives including Superintendent Alan Betts and Detective Inspector Tony Adams.

Hannah's parents chose not to speak at the funeral.

Instead, they released a statement: "Nothing can bring our beautiful daughter back to us, and today will not be easy for any of us, but we will find strength in each other and in the continued support given to us by members of the community in Southampton and beyond.

"Please bear in mind that this one of the most difficult days of our lives."

The service was followed by a private cremation attended only by Hannah's family and friends.



Hundreds attend Hannah funeral
11 Apr 03 |  Hampshire/Dorset
Warrant for Hannah murder suspect
08 Apr 03 |  Hampshire/Dorset

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