Family and friends attend funeral of hit-and-run victim Violet-Grace

The coffin of Violet-Grace Youens, 4, is carried ahead of her funeral at St Julie's Church in St Helens
The coffin of Violet-Grace Youens, 4, is carried ahead of her funeral at St Julie's Church in St Helens

Family and friends of a four-year-old girl who died after a hit-and-run wore violet as they gathered for her funeral.

Violet-Grace Youens died in her mother’s arms in hospital last month days after she and her grandmother, from Golborne, were struck by a car as they walked through St Helens, Merseyside.

The order of service for the funeral of Violet-Grace Youens

The order of service for the funeral of Violet-Grace Youens

Mourners were told to wear violet for the service at St Julie’s Church in Eccleston, St Helens, and many youngsters wore superhero costumes for the ceremony.

A coffin, decorated with rainbows and characters from the animated film Trolls, was brought to the church in a horse-drawn carriage before being carried into the building by Violet-Grace’s parents, Rebecca and Glenn, and other family members.

Mrs Youens had violet-dyed hair for the service and wore a dress of the same colour, while Mr Youens wore a purple tie.

Violet-Grace’s grandmother, Angela French, who was seriously injured in the crash on March 24, attended the service in a wheelchair.

She won the affection of those she came into contact with during her short life and has stirred the hearts of many more who have heard of her because of her death

Canon Thomas Neylon

Songs from the films Trolls, Labyrinth and Frozen were included in the service.

The ceremony ended with the song Oh Cecilia (Breaking My Heart) by The Vamps.

A message on the order of service said: “Violet-Grace’s family would like to thank everyone for their love and kindness in this tragic time.”

A party to celebrate her life was due to be held after the service, with bouncy castles, face painting, princesses and superheroes.

In a homily, parish priest Canon Thomas Neylon said: “This year we have accompanied Violet and her family during Lent in their difficult journey as they face the loss of a beautiful daughter, sister to Oliver, a granddaughter and niece.

“She won the affection of those she came into contact with during her short life and has stirred the hearts of many more who have heard of her because of her death.”

After her death, the family said the donation of Violet-Grace’s organs had saved two other lives.

In a message on her Facebook page, Mrs Youens said: “My brave baby girl saved two lives by donating her kidneys and pancreas.

“I am truly heartbroken but proud of my little fighter.”

Aidan McAteer, 23, has been charged with causing the death by dangerous driving of Violet-Grace, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and stealing a car.

He is due to appear at a preliminary hearing at Liverpool Crown Court on April 26 along with Dean Brennan, 27, who is charged with assisting an offender, theft of a motor vehicle and the aggravating offence of allowing oneself to be carried within a stolen vehicle.