Hundreds attend service for missing Welsh girl


HUNDREDS OF people turned out to pay their respects yesterday as an emotional service took place for missing five-year-old April Jones. A procession of more than 700 people walked slowly through the Welsh town of Machynlleth, as normal life came to a standstill.

Hundreds gathered at the Bryn-y-Gog estate from where April was abducted last Monday evening. With crowds wearing pink ribbons symbolising the faith many still have that the little girl is still alive, the procession moved in subdued silence through the town.

Roads along the route were closed off as the sombre gathering inched its way slowly to St Peter’s Church at the heart of the mid- Wales market town.

The schoolgirl’s abduction has shaken the small community to its core. The service yesterday was seen as the start of a process aimed at healing the community.

Speaking before yesterday’s ceremony, Rev Kathleen Rogers said: “The realisation is coming on since yesterday when we heard murder – that has hit home.” Inside the church, Rev Rogers addressed the congregation as she offered prayers for April’s parents Coral (40) and Paul (44) who did not attend the ceremony.

She said: “We cannot bring little April, our sweet and innocent little girl, home as we had hoped. But our hope has now been moved on to sure and certain hope that she is in the arms of Jesus.

“Coral and Paul may not be with us this morning but we hold them very close in our hearts as we pray for them.”

April, who has cerebral palsy, was playing out late on her bicycle as a treat for a glowing school report when she disappeared on Monday evening.

Former lifeguard and local man Mark Bridger (46) was charged yesterday with the abduction and murder of April.

He is also also accused of perverting the course of justice and will appear before Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court today. – (PA)