Emotional tributes as Norwich teenager Maisie Baxter is laid to rest
A purple coffin decorated with gold handprints yesterday helped the grieving family of teenager Maisie Baxter tell mourners: 'we will always carry her with us'.
Hundreds of people, including her many school friends, filled Norwich Cathedral to pay a tearful farewell to the 13-year-old.
Throughout the afternoon service speakers talked of their confusion, grief and heartache following the Framingham Earl High School pupil's sudden death last month.
In a moving tribute, read by mother Robyn Baxter, her family shared stories of Maisie's love of music, her bubbly personality and close bond with her brothers, sisters and parents.
Her mother, who fought back tears as she spoke of her eldest daughter, said: 'We love her so very much. We are so devastated to have lost her. The massive void she has left behind in our close family is seen, heard and felt on every single level.
'We will always hear her going for it in the bath, singing her little heart out. We already fill in the gaps with her responses because we know her so well.
'Just like all the family handprints on Maisie's coffin illustrate today, we will always carry Maisie with us and will never be without her.'
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During the service, Mrs Baxter talked about her determined daughter, whose first complete sentence was said to be 'I can do it', and whose dream of becoming a recording artist had first made itself known as she toddled around the house singing along to the Noddy theme tune
Her mother said: 'Let me tell you about my beautiful daughter Maisie. Stunning, so funny, strong minded, intelligent, individual, ambitious, talented, competitive, deeply caring, helpful, emphatic, vivacious, articulate, busy and occasionally, if I'm honest, a tiny bit stroppy.
'These are just a few words which came to mind while thinking about my beautiful daughter Maisie.'
Mourners filled every seat in the cathedral and let out bursts of quiet laughter and exclamations of grief in equal measure as the group remembered the teenager.
Many of those attending the service had attended Framingham Earl High School with Maisie.
Headteacher Nicola Furneaux decided to close the academy early to allow friends to bid the popular pupil farewell.
She also paid tribute to the student, reading comments from a number of teachers who she said had been 'moved and captivated' by the teenager.
Ms Furneaux said: 'Maisie just loved people. She relished her friends. Their special place at lunchtime – just a little bit of corridor – was filled with her laughter, her music and her dancing.
''Irreplaceable,' says her French teacher. 'Just so smart and cheeky, knowing just how far to go to be on the edge but never crossing it and doing it with such humour. She cracked me up on many occasions'.'
In between readings, Schubert's Ave Maria was played as a reminder of the year nine pupil's own performance of the song at a school talent show last year.
A YouTube video of the show has been viewed by thousands of people.
Maisie's family also chose to play the Beyonce song I Was Here, from an album she had been given for Christmas.
The teenager, who lived at Trowse, on the outskirts of Norwich, was found dead in her bedroom on Saturday February 18.