Hundreds mourn children who died in suspected arson horror

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THE FUNERAL of six children who were killed by a fire at their family home saw hundreds of mourners pack into church for an emotional service.

Six small white coffins arrived at St Mary’s Church, in Derby, yesterday on horse-drawn carriages.

Crowds gathered outside in Derby city centre while inside the 350-seat church was packed to capacity, with many standing through the 90-minute Catholic requiem mass for Jade and her five brothers Duwayne, John, Jack, Jesse and Jayden,

Jade’s coffin had a pink princess on the front while the boys’ coffins each had emblems, with a toy soldier for nine-year-old John and the Derby County badge for Duwayne.

Each coffin also bore the child’s name.

Family members and friends threw flowers at the coffins as they were carried into the church while well-wishers wept outside as the coffins were taken inside.

Mourners were given yellow roses and flower rosettes with six petals, one for each child, blue for the five boys and pink for Jade, as they went in.

Tributes paid to the children, during the service spoke of how they doted on each other and took on various roles such as “protector” and “mother hen”.

There were tears and laughter as each of the children were remembered.

The eldest of the six, Duwayne, described as being a ladies’ man with queues of female admirers, was said to have taken on the role of “protector” of his younger siblings.

The congregation heard the 13-year-old and his brothers would often go to watch Derby County FC play with their father Mick.

Their sister Jade, 10, who was described as a beautiful princess, had also become like a mother hen to her siblings.

The youngest of the six children, five-year-old Jayden, who was said to look up to his older brothers, was said to have been nicknamed the miracle baby after being born prematurely.

“He loved lots of cuddles from family and friends,” the service was told.

Nine-year-old John was described as a cheeky chappy who was always ready to pick a fight, had wanted to join the Army when he was older.

His eight-year-old brother Jack was described as a pretty boy with bright blue eyes.

“Cute, cuddly and content with everything,” the service was told about him.

“He was always the first one in the fights to run off crying to his mummy but some cuddles and kisses and he would be back to his gaming.”

Brother Jesse, aged six, would get into scrambles with his brother “with no cares in the world” and it was said he liked to show off to everyone.

Hymns and prayers were said for the six children while teachers also paid tribute to the youngsters.

Prayers were also said for the fire service.

A poem called Angels on High concluded the service, which included the lines:

“And when you have a moment, just close your eyes for they are all only a breath away, in heaven there are no goodbyes.

Duwayne, Jade, John, Jack, Jesse and Jayden, in the arms of angels fly away.”

Following the full requiem mass, the coffins were taken by the horse-drawn carriages to a cemetery in nearby Chaddesden for a private burial service.

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