UK

Charlotte Bevan & Baby Zaani Funeral Service

19/12/2014 18:00 GMT

Around 300 family and friends gathered on Friday to mourn the loss of a mother and her newborn daughter.

Charlotte Bevan, 30, and four-day-old Zaani Tiana Bevan Malbrouck disappeared from a maternity hospital in Bristol on the December 2nd.

Search teams located the bodies of Bevan and Zaani, both from Clifton, Bristol, on the Avon Gorge on December 3 and 4 respectively.

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Mother and child pictured in the funeral booklet

The congregation, who had been asked to wear bright clothes, filled Christ Church in Clifton to celebrate the lives of the young mother and daughter.

A single coffin had earlier been carried into the church and the hour-long service, which was led by Rev Paul Langham, was relayed to people outside.

Pascal Malbrouck paid tribute his partner and their baby, describing them as "two amazing beings" who were "full of joy, full of life".

"Charlotte, she was my joy, my hope, my strength, my mentor and every minute I spent with her she taught me something," he told mourners.

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Newborn Zaani Tiana Bevan Malbrouck

"She taught me to love often, to be patient with love, to appreciate beauty and to find the best in others, never give up and try again, to give oneself to the world and make it a little better for everybody else. That was Charlotte.

"I think all this is a trial and trial gives strength, sorrow and understanding and wisdom."

He added: "I miss her so much. She filled me with hope. I hope to see you again lovely and I wish and I want to enjoy your journey with you again."

Malbrouck explained her name Zaani Tiana meant "the one we look upon with love".

"I think this name when we gave it to her was well chosen because I hope everybody here today will look upon her with love," he said.

"Her life has been short, very short but I can tell you that every single minute of it... she was a happy baby.

"Four days may not seem much but to me it was an eternity and those memories will stay with me forever."

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Mourners arriving at Christ Church in Clifton

Ms Bevan's mother, Rachel Fortune, also told the congregation that since the tragedy her family has been "enveloped in a shield of love so strong that words cannot describe it".

"We want to thank each and every single one of you for your part in building that shield and we mean all," she said.

"This shield has helped us through this very difficult time. It is a shield of love and compassion. This shield has enabled my family to see the next dawn, to face the next and the next with fortitude, understanding and love.

"Today is one of thanksgiving for Charlotte and Zaani's lives. All other matters are for another time."

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A mourner wearing bright colours to the funeral as requested

Ms Fortune brought laughter to the service, when she recalled how her granddaughter would smile at her.

"I am like any grandmother when I tell you how beautiful my granddaughter was, how she smiled at me... and it wasn't wind. She looked at me when I spoke to her," she said.

She described her daughter as a "free spirit" and added: "You all knew her.

"A beautiful free spirit, strong-willed, full of love and energy. She had an openness that took your breath away at times. She was adventurous, colourful and talented."

Mourners sang the hymns Love Divine, All Loves Excelling, He's Got The Whole Wide World In His Hands, There Is A Green Hill Far Away and, finally, Jerusalem.

A private cremation was to take place later.

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Charlotte and Zaani will have a 'memory garden' made in their honour

A massive police operation was launched when Ms Bevan left St Michael's Hospital in Bristol city centre with her four-day-old daughter.

CCTV footage showed the new mother leaving the hospital without a coat, wearing hospital slippers, carrying her daughter in a blanket.

An inquest at Avon Coroner's Court this week heard mother and daughter were found in a gully having "apparently fallen". The hearing was adjourned until next year.