Tia Sharp: Mother too distraught to say final farewell at funeral
THE grieving mother of Tia Sharp was so distraught during her daughter's funeral she could not give her heartfelt farewell to the hundreds that gathered.
Natalie Sharp broke down as a family member and former teachers addressed the mourners with their tributes, meaning the mother's goodbye was read by a clergy member conducting the private service this morning.
Family and friends heard Tia had a boyfriend called Magic, and that she was adored by her former teachers and peers who remember her as "lively, bubbly and fun".
One teacher from her former primary school in Pollards Hill, Merton, told how Tia was once sent out of class with a fellow pupil to "make up" after a dispute, only for her to come back minutes later holding hands with the classmate.
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Tia had also had her hand up in a class being taught about the fire of London, mourners at the hour-long service were told, but when asked what her question was, responded: "I'm going on holiday next week, Miss."
Father Steven Carter, 30, said: "What the teachers said about her just summed her up. It brought a smile to people's faces. She was lively, bubbly and fun.
"The one thing that has come from the stories we heard, is everyone at school loved her. There were a few surprises as well - I didn't realise she had a boyfriend."
The deputy head teacher of Raynes Park High – where hundreds of fellow students and teachers lined the streets in an emotional farewell procession before the service – also spoke.
The 12-year-old's casket entered North East Surrey Crematorium to the song Baby Cakes by 3 Of A Kind, before the Lord's Prayer, poems, teachers' speeches and words from uncle David Sharp's partner, Rachel. It closed with the song Low by Flo Rida.
Photos of Tia and her family along with heartfelt messages were also handed out in a separate pamphlet.
One message read: "I used to see you every day on the bus, you always offered me your seat when I had my grandson with me. You are a beautiful girl, always so kind and thoughtful."
Another read: "Will always remember you after your bubbly personality, your smile, your kindness and most of all the way you always did your hair and make-up."
The horse-drawn carriage which carried Tia's pink and white coffin up to the crematorium was bedecked with flowers spelling out "our girl" and "little princess". Also on show was a mock-up of a BlackBerry mobile phone with a photo of the 12-year-old's face in place of the screen.
Christine Sharp, Tia's grandmother, also attended despite reports she had been told to stay away after her partner Stuart Hazell was charged with the schoolgirl's murder.
She is still on bail after being arrested on suspicion of murder after Tia's body was found in her loft in The Lindens, New Addington, on August 10. Around 20 Met officers policed the funeral.
Mr Carter, 30, added: "I think she [Tia] would be sitting there very proud right now, of everyone. I believe today that all we did was lay her shell to rest.
"One thing we will always remember her for is always having a smile on her face. I have never seen her in any picture without a smile on her face.
"I think she just touched everybody's hearts, even people who didn't know her were turning up to pay their respects. And even those who didn't know her, fell in love with her.
"It feels a relief to have got over the funeral. It has brought some closure but we are still seeking justice."
Tia's uncle Stuart Maclean – Mr Carter's brother – from Kenley, said: "I wish and hope that many people come to my funeral. I have been to a few funerals but I have never seen a turnout like that before.
"The school were brilliant. One of the teachers was saying how much the school was going to miss her and that she had so much potential.
"Everybody said how bubbly and down to earth and fun she was."
Hazell will appear in court in November.