Mourners in pink lined the long approach well before 10am, blending into the ribbons and flowers that had been attached to fences and poles outside of Coats Funeral Home.
The music started playing even before some family members came in, with versions of Alesha 's favorite songs sounding through the old church and in the streets at the same time. outside. His mother, Georgina Lochrane, known affectionately as Genie, was escorted inside by a funeral parlor and her partner George, a look of determination and deep sadness on her face as the Highland Cathedral resounded from the neighboring bagpipe.
Workers at the adjacent high school board were watching their cigarette break. Those who lived on the other side of the street drew their curtains or walked in front of their gardens. Some who knew the family, but could not get into the funeral home, stood outside while the service was taking place. Wherever they came from, they all wore pink – in their hair, on their wrists or even dyeing their beards. They had been touched by this tragedy of a little girl all her life in front of her.
As the bereaved took their place, the music of Randy Newman and Take That was the backdrop for tears and shaking heads. People knew that it should not have happened, they should not be here.
Danny Sweet, a Bute-born musician, was the man responsible for staying strong, channeling his emotion through the songs so beloved by Alesha when he sang and played the guitar. Last week, he did the same on the streets of Glasgow, seeking to raise funds to help Alesha's family through this incredibly difficult period of their lives. He raised nearly 500 pounds in a single day, and no doubt brought a certain level of comfort to a funeral service that everyone knew that it should not have been necessary.
In front of the benches, there was the small pink casket of Alesha and a lonely lantern topped with a photo of the six year old gripping a snowball next to it. them. As the speakers began, it became clear that the lantern was a representation of Alesha – bright and warm.
Tributes to the Coatbridge granddaughter were led by funeral director Fraser MacGregor, who spoke of a "very loving, friendly, good and loving girl." Alesha's love for gymnastics, music, watching TV and making jokes was mentioned, but the heart of the Alesha family was at the heart of it all. She spent time watching Peppa Pig with her younger sister Courtney. She learned gymnastic movements from her mother. Even his jokes centered around his loved ones.
It was said to the crowds that Alesha was a talented writer and an inquisitive maiden, with shared anecdotes of a smart young man who was "wise beyond his years". The teachers at Chapelside Primary, where Alesha had finished summer a few weeks ago, were the first to speak.
Her class teacher, Emma Gibson, recounted the joy that Alesha was to teach. "Alesha was a bright and bubbly girl, she always came to class with that big, beautiful smile," she said. "It was an absolute pleasure to have taught Alesha, I am so grateful to have known this special little girl." Their tribute was completed by Director Wendy Davie, who added, "Let your smile shine wherever you are, we will always remember our star Chapelside."
Prayers and moments of contemplation provided interludes to tributes to Alesha, giving those present a chance to wipe the tears off their faces before the emotional family speaks of the special child who had been removed too soon.
Alesha's father, Robert, seated one row from his daughter's coffin, dragged himself to let his partner Toni McLachlan pass in order to pay another homage to their "little angel" by reading a poem through his tears.
Calum MacPhail, the uncle of Alesha, made the final tribute to the schoolgirl. Dressed in his loincloth and sprinkled with pink, he told that it was he who was watching Alesha, not the other way around.
Visibly lost for words, he appealed to those who listened to not despair, because Alesha did not want them to worry about her. "Alesha would rather be hurt than you," he said. "She had a lot of love for everyone." Instead, he asked everyone watching to go see their loved ones and hold them, tell them what they mean to you. As he left the scene, he did exactly that, kissing Genie, Alesha's mother, before returning to his seat.
Closing the service MacGregor told that Alesha was fascinated by the bubbles and had always wanted a birthday party at the bubble for her birthday. And while the music was playing at the end, a machine was sending bubbles that floated above the heads of the mourners, shining, before floating to burst, also for too short a time.
On leaving the crowd, the crowd grew larger, with the pink flank army on either side of the street, while Alesha went on a carriage trip. Her guard was standing there while they had been watching Airdrie last week and at Rothesay before, silently, while Alesha MacPhail was moving away to rest.