Page last updated at 16:16 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Funeral for motorway crash family

The four coffins are taken from the church
The four coffins were taken from the church for a private cremation

Hundreds of mourners have attended the funeral of a family of six who died in a motorway crash.

David and Michelle Statham, and children Reece, 13, Jay, nine, Mason, 20 months, and Ellouise, 10 weeks, died in a collision on the M6 in Cheshire.

The crash happened two weeks ago as the family travelled home from Birmingham.

At the service in Llandudno, relatives said the many tributes "made us realise just how much this tragedy has affected people from all over the country".

The funeral was held at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Llandudno, Conwy, where two of the children were altar boys and the family worshipped.

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Tributes have been paid to the 'lovely' family of 6, killed on the M6

The Stathams were returning to Llandudno after visiting relatives in Birmingham when their car was involved in a collision between three lorries and another car and caught fire.

The four coffins were draped in the English and Welsh flags.

The two youngest children were lying in the same coffins as their parents to be cremated together.

Jay's coffin was coloured like Doctor Who's Tardis while Reece's coffin was painted in the colours of his favourite football club, Aston Villa.

At the altar flowers spelled out the names Michelle and Dave.

Some family members held a vigil in the church overnight after the coffins were taken there.

David Statham and his wife Michelle (top left) with their four children Jay (top right), Mason (bottom left); Reece, 13, and Ellouise (bottom righ
The Statham family were killed between junctions 16 and 17 of the M6

Around 200 people packed inside the church for the service, conducted in both English and Welsh, while another 150 stood outside and listened to the service on a loudspeaker.

Mr Statham's mother, Angela, and Michelle's parents, Carole and Peter Hagans, were supported by friends and family from Birmingham.

Friends of the couple from Llandudno and classmates of the children, representatives of the emergency services and the local community also attended.

Mr Statham, 38, a chef at St David's College in Llandudno, had been with his 33-year-old wife for 19 years.

The family had moved to the town from Birmingham four years ago.

The requiem mass was conducted by Bishop of Wrexham, Edwin Regan, and Father Antony Jones, the parish priest.

The bishop said Mr Hagans had told him both families had been touched by the love and sympathy shown by people from all over Britain in response to the tragedy.

He said: "We are here to say goodbye to a family known and loved by so many.

"We are here to express our grief, love and sympathy."

The many tributes to Michelle, Dave and the children have made us realise just how much this tragedy has affected people from all over the country
Joint family statement

Leading the prayers, Sister Jennifer McGlade said: "(David) was a man who would give his last penny and make anyone welcome in his home."

Sister Jennifer said Mrs Statham was a loving wife and mother whose capacity for love was "vast" and whose protectiveness of her four children was "legendary".

She said Reece - Reecie Babes as he was known to his family - had a "celebrated appetite, not just for food but for rugby, the Air Cadets, karate and altar serving".

Sister Jennifer described Jay - Jay Bird - as quick-witted, articulate, talented and very amusing.

"He brought joy to his family and friends. He was always singing about the stars in the sky. He was always happy and his smile said it all," she added.

Sister Jennifer said of Mason: "Masey Moo was only 20 months old but already showing signs of sporting talent.

"He could drop kick a football as soon as he could walk and used the television remote control as a cricket bat. At his tender age he has won the game and took the cup."

Of Ellouise, Sister Jennifer said: "Twinkle Toes, the baby of the family. The fourth of the four children Michelle and David always wanted."

Sister Jennifer said without Ellouise the family would not have been complete.

A prayer was also said for Paulo Jorge Nogueira da Silva, 46, the HGV driver who has been charged with causing the deaths of the family and was earlier in the day remanded in custody at Chester Crown Court.

Sister Jennifer told the mourners he too was suffering and asked them to pray for his peace of mind.

In the order of service both families paid tribute to the emergency crews who "did all that they could for our family."

The statement continued: "The many tributes to Michelle, Dave and the children have made us realise just how much this tragedy has affected people from all over the country.

"We will miss our family every day, but memories of them will be ours to treasure and hold close to our hearts."

The coffins were carried out of the church by relatives for a private committal at Colwyn Bay crematorium.



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