“Be safe and look after each other - let that be Megan’s legacy.”
The family of Seaham teenager Megan Bell have urged her friends to ensure they care for themselves and those around them as they gathered with hundreds of people to celebrate her life.
The 17-year-old had been due to start her job as an apprentice hairdresser today and dreamed of owning her own business.
Instead, her loved ones gathered at St Mary Magdalen Church in Harbour Walk in her home town to say their last goodbye at a service filled with tears and smiles, as they remembered her vibrant approach to life and laughter.
She died at the T in the Park music festival in Scotland on Friday, July 8.
Scores wore bright clothing for the funeral at the request of Megan’s family, with many wearing Hawaiian shirts and carrying flowers.
My beautiful Megan, our time together was far too short and with so many happy memories of our happy times.Family tribute
Following the opening of Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz, one of her favourite childhood songs, her grandmother Jenny Bell pleaded with people, especially the youngest there, to ensure they and each other are safe.
The community was thanked for the outpouring of messages sent to the family in the aftermath of her death, as well as those who gathered at the candle light vigil and balloon release on the seafront on Thursday.
Jenny said it was “of the like we have never seen before.”
The service, opened with The Temptation’s My Girl, was led by Father Frank McCullagh, who read a eulogy from her family.
Megan leaves “proud parents” Chris and Lisa, sisters Maddy and Jenny and brother Josh, as well as grandparents Eddie Bell and Jenny, town and county councillors, and Hughie and Alison.
Eddie, chairman of Durham County Council and mayor of Durham, had asked Fr Frank to tell the congregation how Megan will always have a special place in his heart.
She had won a modelling competition as a toddler and had gone on to join the Stagecoach performing arts school, appearing in shows including the Sunderland Empire.
She attended St Mary Magdalen RC Primary in Seaham and St Anthony’s Catholic Girls’ Academy in Sunderland and became a good friend to her neighbours.
The packed church was told of her love for music as a One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer, as well as Beyonce, with her song I Was Here played at the close of the service.
Friends Jessica said they were like sisters and read recollections of happy memories, such as when she helped lift her spirits as they awaited their GCSE results, pretending to be in their own girl band, with Megan always lead singer.
Friend Olivia read a poem Megan had written when she was eight, while cousin Stacey read a poem written by the villagers of Braco, in Perthshire, near to where Megan died.
After her funeral, Megan was laid to rest at Seaham Cemetery.
Police Scotland have said her death is not being treated as suspicious.
Seaham Town Hall, which hosted the reception, said its park cafe would be closed during the day as staff paid tribute to Megan, who had worked there.
Massive floral tributes spelling out Our Angel were among for Megan’s as her family showed their love.
They requested flowers from relations only were presented as part of her cortege.
They asked money be donated to the Flowers for Megan fund, set up by family friend Laura Ward in the wake of Megan’s death.
It has already raised more than £1,600, with a sell-out charity night in Megan’s name to be held on Friday at Dawdon Social Welfare Centre.
Everyone who had “overwhelmed” the Bells by the outpouring of messages was thanked for their support during the funeral.
Among the messages to Megan was one from her aunt Andi, uncle Tom and cousins Tommy, Harvey and Jack.
It said: “My beautiful Megan, our time together was far too short and with so many happy memories of our happy times.
“Our hearts are filled with sorrow and you will be sadly missed. “We will remember you and your beautiful smile.
“Sleep with the angels my darling love.”
Another from aunts Doreen and Joan and uncles Alan, David and John, said: “Remembering always our beautiful niece. Love always.”
Donations can be made via http://bit.ly/29J80kM.