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Grieving family bid sad farewell to sleeping’ Michelle

PUBLISHED: 22:16 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:24 05 October 2010

Pallbearers carry Michelle's pink coffin to hearse at Tuesday's funeral

Pallbearers carry Michelle's pink coffin to hearse at Tuesday's funeral

THE grieving parents of seven-year-old Michelle Gellard bid a tearful farewell to their daughter on Tuesday, two weeks after she drowned in a swimming pool accident. Michelle died at Blackwater Leisure centre in Essex, after being found floating face down in the water. Family and friends joined Mark Gellard and Sian Lakey and their other three children at the Docklands Settlement at Millwall, on the Isle of Dogs, for her funeral

Gemma Collins

THE grief-stricken parents of seven-year-old Michelle Gellard bid a tearful farewell to their 'beautiful' daughter on Tuesday, two weeks after she drowned in a swimming pool accident.

Michelle died at Blackwater Leisure centre in the Essex town of Maldon, after being found floating face down in the water.

Family and friends joined Mark Gellard and Sian Lakey and their other three children at the Quaystone Church in The Docklands Settlement at Millwall, on the Isle of Dogs, for her funeral.

Michelle's pink coffin was carried by the pallbearers into the packed community hall as Eva Cassidy's Songbird was played.

Tributes were read out and photos of Michelle, a pupil at Millwall's Harbinger Primary school, were shown on a screen.

Pastor Dave Sunman, leading the service, read a statement from Mark and Sian, describing how Michelle brightened up their lives.

"She was caring and was always making people laugh," he said.

She will be sadly missed by all of us. Sleep tight darling daughter, mummy and daddy will always love you."

The community on the Isle of Dogs have joined the family from Seyssel Street in Millwall in their mourning since the tragedy on June 14.

The 'girl with attitude' was a member of the Docklands Dragons judo club who died the day she had won a silver medal in a contest at the leisure centre.

The club's Fred Turner paid tribute to the youngster who he called Michelle 'Attitude' Gellard because she was a "cheeky little monkey."

He said: "If I had a daughter, she would be the one I would want.

"Michelle, thank you for practicing with us. Thank you for letting us teach you. Thank you for teaching us. She has taught us a lot."

Harbinger School head teacher Mandy Kellegher fondly recalled how the "bright and bubbly little girl" would look out for fellow pupils.

"Michelle had an extraordinary gift for caring for others," she said. "She had an amazing capacity to love others, a perfect child in every way."

The coffin was then carried out to the music of Mariah Carey's One Sweet Day and driven to the City of London Crematorium at Manor Park in East London.

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