Several hundred mourners have paid their respects to 12-year-old Ava White, who was said to have “always brightened up the day by her presence”.
The Liverpool schoolgirl died last month after she was stabbed following a Christmas lights switch-on in the city centre.
Photographs of the youngster covered her coffin, which was brought to her funeral service at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral in a white horse-drawn carriage on Thursday morning.
Applause broke out from the congregation, many in tears, as the pall-bearers carried the coffin into the church, and again later when it departed.
Ava’s father Robert Martin, her mother Leanne White and her elder sister Mia were present at the service, along with other family members.
Her fellow pupils from Notre Dame Catholic College were also in attendance, as were some from her former school, Trinity RC Primary.
Many of those gathering wore bright colours and some had hoodies bearing a photograph of the youngster.
Officiating the service, the Archbishop of Liverpool, the Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon, passed his deepest sympathies to Ava’s family and friends and the people of Liverpool, who he said had all been affected by her death.
He said: “We know that Ava was a popular young person and she had many friends all over Liverpool. Many of you here today, you will have special memories of her – 12 years of very special moments.
“I am told that she would try anything once – even the rides on the fair that she was not big enough for.
“She didn’t fear anything, and she won’t be afraid now to step into the light of God.
“Some of you will remember her as a daredevil, or as a real character who always brightened up the day or the moment by her presence.
“Ava was a lovely young person who enjoyed singing and dancing. She loved going on holiday and she would make up her own dances – she was very energetic and was TikTok famous. She was especially good at mixed martial arts and at football.
“This strong-willed girl, Ava, was loved by so many people. Heaven will be a happier place because of her exuberance. She will undoubtedly have taken it by storm.”
Notre Dame headteacher Peter Duffy gave a reading during the service, while hymns sang were Do Not Be Afraid, For I Have Redeemed You and Amazing Grace.
The archbishop later told reporters: “The turnout today at the cathedral shows the unity and love that we have in Liverpool for Ava and her family.
“It was an incredibly moving and emotional funeral which was a fitting tribute to Ava.
“We continue to pray for Ava, her family, her friends, her teachers and her community.”
A 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been charged with murdering Ava on November 25 and will next appear in court in February.