MORE than 300 friends and relatives turned out yesterday to pay their final respects to Witney schoolgirl Liberty Baker.
The 14-year-old was killed on June 30 after she was hit by a car which mounted the kerb on Curbridge Road as she walked to school at about 8am.
Extra space had to be made available outside Witney’s Our Lady and St Hugh Roman Catholic Church, Moorland Road, to accommodate the number of people who joined with Liberty’s father Paul, mother Maureen and younger brother Finley at the funeral.
The family’s priest, Father Patrick Broun, said the number of people in the church showed how much Liberty, pictured, was loved.
He added: “People have been saying she was a happy girl, a smiling girl, that she made others around her smile too.
“Why was that? It was because she knew she was loved by her family, and her friends. So many people loved her, she gave so much.”
Liberty’s aunt Michala Matthewson paid tribute to her “beautiful” niece.
In the eulogy read out in church, she said: “Liberty was the most precious, special girl who was adored by all who knew here. She really did light up our lives with her beautiful, sunny nature. Our hearts are broken by the events of June 30 but Liberty will always have a massive place in our hearts and will be loved forever.”
She went on to say: “It sums up her caring nature that she wanted to become a mental health nurse.
“She may have been considered quiet but she definitely had a rock chick side to her and she was learning to play the ukulele. She grew into a beautiful young lady with a fabulous group of friends and her boyfriend Adam who she loved being with.
“When Liberty was little she was a very happy girl but of course even she had her off moments. When she did, one of her uncle Davids would sing ‘smile and the world smiles with you’ to her. I think this mantra must have stayed with Liberty as it has been commented on so many times over.”
Liberty’s brother Finley, 10, read a poem out with his cousins Rowan and Anya about his sister.
It said: “You will be missed by many though your days on Earth were few. You touched the lives of all you met. You lived your life so true.”
The teenager was on her way to The Henry Box School when she was killed and a number of teachers attended her funeral service.
Liberty’s ukulele, a candle she was given at her first holy communion and a teddy bear were placed by her coffin to represent her love of music, her spirituality and her youth.
Following the funeral, mourners flanked the hearse as it travelled the short distance to Tower Hill Cemetery where Liberty was laid to rest.
An 18-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and released on police bail until August 10.
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