The funeral of seven-year-old Mary Shipstone who was murdered by her father on September 11 was held at St Mary’s Church in Northiam this morning. The service was conducted by the Rev Rod White.
Her family asked the media not to enter the church during the service and not to approach relatives or friends. Lyndsey Shipstone, Mary’s mother, released a statement through Sussex Police: “It has been a month since our beautiful Mary was taken from us but the pain is still as fresh now as it was then.
“Mary was such a fun, bright, inquisitive little girl. Losing her so violently has left us in a state of trauma and grief. Her absence feels like a void that cannot be overcome. She was such a happy child and I hope the memory of her little smiling face will be what stays with everyone who knew her.
“She will never leave our thoughts but at the moment every day is a struggle for us as we try to come to terms with our grief. I would like to thank my family and friends for all their support and the community for the way our neighbours have comforted us in our darkest hour. I will never forgot the kindness we have been shown over the last few weeks.
“I would also like to thank the media for giving us the time and space to grieve for Mary. We are still struggling with our loss and I would ask them to please continue to leave us to grieve in peace.”
During the service there was a tribute by Alison Barlow, Mary’s music teacher and a reading of A Poem for Mary written by Liz Butt of Rye, the founder of The Music Well charity:
I heard your heartfelt song
Welling from your pain, your fear
The shadows darkening into light
A tale of flight.
I heard your youthful tune
Played out with delight
A child’s celebration of life
Conquering the night.
I watched your hands drumming
Finding a rhythm of liveliness
Comforting, stable, sharing
Winning the fight.
Your music ripples out
In ever widening circles
To touch the hearts of many
The music of your life.
The service concluded with a private family committal in Beckley churchyard.
The family has set up a memorial fund to remember Mary and to support The Music Well, which offers music therapy to children who have suffered trauma. Follow this link to donate to the fund. Its target is £5,000. So far, it has reached £4,297.
Mary was shot outside her home in Spring Hill, Northiam as she returned from Beckley Church of England Primary School. Her father Yasser Alromisse turned the gun on himself and died at the scene. Mary died the next day of her injuries in King’s College Hospital, London.