The family of Alice Gross have said they “find it almost impossible to understand” her “appalling” death after the murdered schoolgirl’s funeral.
They spoke of their struggle to come to terms with having to say goodbye to the 14-year-old, whose body was found in the River Brent in west London last month.
In a statement released after a humanist funeral service celebrating Alice’s life, her family said: “We have been devastated by the appalling circumstances of Alice’s death.
“Alice was so spirited, so present, so vital and so full of promise. We find it almost impossible to understand what has happened and that we have to say goodbye to her.”
They said they wanted the funeral to ``focus on the joy of Alice's life and the joy of having known her''.
The service was private but a summary released through police revealed it was designed to commemorate the teenager’s love of music, with videos shown of her playing and singing her own songs.
Tributes were made by her teachers, parents Rosalind Hodgkiss and Jose Gross, and sister Nina Gross.
Mourners sang You Are My Sunshine, and further tributes by her music teachers included Home by Gabrielle Aplin, The Call by Regina Spektor, Touch The Sky from the film Brave, and the violin piece Ashokan Farewell by Jay Ungar.
Alice’s grandfather read the poem Surprised By Joy by William Wordsworth, a sonnet written following the death of his young daughter.
Her colourful coffin was painted by Nina, Alice’s grandmother Anne Hodgkiss and family friend Carole McCourt.
It depicted a meadow scene and Alice’s three cats, Lottie, Louis and Pattie, and her dog, Peggy.
Alice’s family thanked those who have supported them.
They said: “We would like to thank everyone for being so kind and supportive.
“We have been moved by the depth of sympathy and compassion around us, not only from close family and friends but also from the local community.”
Earlier, Hanwell fell silent as the hearse travelled through the town in west London.
Yellow ribbons – once a symbol of hope that Alice would be found alive - festooned trees, railings and traffic signs along the route.
Dozens of bunches of mainly yellow flowers, candles and messages of tribute have been left around a clock tower in the centre of Hanwell, which has become a focus of the community’s grief.
Locals lit small candles arranged to spell out “We love you Alice” and watered flowers ahead of the funeral.
A tribute and donation page has been set up in Alice’s memory with the charity Youth Music.
Her family said: “We feel this is a fitting tribute to our daughter Alice.
“She loved music and loved making music and would have wanted other children to experience this joy.”
The charity said it was “honoured and grateful” to be chosen for the tribute.
A public memorial ceremony for Alice will be held on November 2 at Greenford Town Hall.
::The Youth Music website is at www.youthmusic.org.uk. Donations in memory of Alice can be made at http://alice.poppymadeleine.gross.muchloved.com/