About 800 people attended the funeral of three generations of a Gwent family who died in a house fire. EMMA MACKINTOSH reports.

TWO coffins bearing three generations of the same family were carried in to a Cwmbran church yesterday, as crowds of mourners stood in subdued silence to pay their respects. Sixteen pall-bearers carried the coffins.

One held 17-year-old Kayleigh Buckley lying alongside her six-month-old daughter, Kimberley, the other carried their mother and grandmother Kim Buckley, 46. All died in a blaze at their home in Tillsland, Coed Eva, in September.

The coffins, which bore flowers spelling out ‘Mum’ and ‘Sister’, were conveyed through the rain into St Gabriel’s Church, to the Westlife song We Started As Friends.

Four firefighters in dress uniform stood together on the corner of Wesley Street, while around 800 people entered the church to hear a service led by Father Michael Phillips, the Rector of Cwmbran and area dean of Pontypool.

In the service, Father Michael said: “We simply cannot believe what has happened.

It was all so sudden and yet we know it is true. Our hearts are filled with justifiable anger and with questions as to ‘why’.”

He described Kim’s “wonderful personality, always full of fun” and said Kayleigh was a shy but loving girl who had been overjoyed to become a mum herself, while baby Kimberley fought bravely while in hospital.

“Our hearts go out to the whole family, but especially to Gwyn and John, the baby’s great-grandparents, and to Kim’s partner, Dai,” he said.

Fr Michael paid tribute to the emergency services and the special care baby unit at the Royal Gwent Hospital, where the family have asked donations to be sent in lieu of flowers.

Hymns including Abide With Me, Love Divine and Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer were sung, and many people wore an item of red clothing in honour of Kim’s love of Liverpool Football Club.

A cremation was held at Gwent Crematorium after the funeral.

Bishop praises community for its love and support

THE deaths of three members of the same family have brought together a community in grief, the Bishop of Monmouth told mourners yesterday.

Speaking at the funeral at St Gabriel’s Church, the Right Rev Dominic Walker said: “In Wales, in recent weeks we have seen and heard the news of some terrible tragedies.

“You may be hoping that I can make it all better, or provide some explanation as to how a loving God can allow such things to happen – and I cannot.

“We live in a real world where evil takes place and sometimes we just need to acknowledge it for the evil that it is. It has been said that it is a miracle that such things don’t happen more often and that because God has planted within us a moral conscience and a knowledge of what is right and what is wrong, that such tragedies are comparatively rare, but that is of little comfort for those who have to bear such grief at their loss.

“On the cross, Jesus told those who mourned him most to care for one another, and I know just how many people in the community here have been expressing their care for those most closely affected by his tragedy.

“It has brought together a community who have shown their love and support – and perhaps also their anger and questioning – which is all part of grieving.

“St Paul told Christians to ‘bear one another’s burdens’, and God bless you for doing that.

“Trusting in the mercy and love of God we commend Kim, Kayleigh and Kimberley into his care, praying that they may rest in peace. Amen.”

Carl Mills, 28, of no fixed abode, has been charged with their murder.

He is due to appear before Cardiff Crown Court on December 17.