Brother of British backpacker shares snap of sister before funeral


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The heartbroken brother of a British backpacker who was murdered in New Zealand carried her coffin into the funeral where friends and family said their last goodbyes this morning.

Grace Millane, 22, was in New Zealand as part on a round the world trip ‘trip of a lifetime’ when she went missing from a hostel in Auckland on December 1.

Ms Millane’s body was found by police more than a week later on the outskirts of the city after a nationwide search and international outcry over her disappearance. 

Hundreds of mourners gathered at Brentwood Cathedral, in Essex, for the funeral service.

Her family – including mother, Gillian, and brothers Michael, 29, and Declan, 26, arrived at the cathedral this morning for what they have titled ‘Grace’s Day’. 

Friends watched as the procession was slowly led into the grounds of the cathedral on the cold winter’s morning.

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The coffin is carried into Brentwood Cathedral by her brother Declan Millane (pictured front of the coffin) at the funeral of his sister Grace Millane

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Grace Millane’s brother, Declan (pictured right) being comforted by his father David Millane. Friends and family embraced each other as they said goodbye to the 22-year-old

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The order of service for the funeral with a family picture and at the top a tribute to their beloved sister, daughter and friend Grace Millane, saying ‘You are our sunshine’

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Family and friends will pay their respects to Grace Millane today, with her coffin carried into Brentwood Cathedral this morning (pictured) 

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Mourners clutch each other at the funeral of murdered backpacker Grace Millane, in Brentwood, Essex. She was found dead after a missing persons search in New Zealand where she was on a gap year backpacking

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David Millane, pictured middle, with Declan Millane (right) as mourners prepare to enter the funeral of murdered backpacker Grace Millane, in Brentwood, Essex, that is taking place today

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A picture of Grace Millane surrounded by flowers in the hearse. A number of mourners are gathered today at the funeral taking place in Brentwood, in Essex, Ms Millane’s home county

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There was an outpouring of support today as hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of Grace Millane in her home county of Essex

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Grace’s farther David Millane (pictured middle) alongside friends and family at the funeral. At the service mourners were handed a brightly coloured service book before singing the hymn Amazing Grace

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The funeral of murdered Essex backpacker Grace Millan ( Pictured: brother Declan right and brother Michael the left)

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A wooden sign that read Amazing Grace was surrounded by white flowers and her family carried the brown coffin into the cathedral as black-clad mourners dabbed their eyes and held each other

Her devastated family looked visibly upset as they got out of the cars and they made their way to the flower-packed hearse.

A wooden sign that read Amazing Grace was surrounded by white flowers. 

Her family carried the brown coffin into the cathedral as black-clad mourners dabbed their eyes and held each other. 

Speaking ahead of the service this morning Father John Corbyn paid tribute to Grace’s family as they try to cope with their loss.

He said: ‘Grace’s name was very appropriate because Grace is about God’s gift to us and she certainly was very much.

‘Every child is a gift to their parents but she was certainly a gift from God’s grace and she very much showed in her brief life God’s goodness and God’s grace. ‘Just as God gave them Grace whose funeral we celebrate today so God will we pray give them the grace and his love to surround them in what will be a difficult time. 

‘They are a very strong family you can perceive a great deal of love and bonding and strength within that family. ‘They have many friends who will I believe help them.’

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Two mourners comfort each other at the funeral of Grace Millane. Grace’s father, David, read a eulogy to his daughter before the mourners left to the sounds of the Ed Sheeran song, Photograph

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A group of mourners walking to the funeral of Grace Millane. Speaking ahead of the service this morning Father John Corbyn paid tribute to Grace’s family as they try to cope with their loss

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The coffin is carried out of Brentwood Cathedral funeral of murdered backpacker Grace Millane, Brentwood. Her brother Declan Millane is at the front (pictured right)

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The coffin of Grace Millane is put into a hearse by family members.  A burial – for family and close friends only – is set to take place this afternoon in Ramsden Bellhouse

Mourners were handed a brightly coloured service book before singing the hymn Amazing Grace.

The order of service was full of heartbreakingly beautiful images of Grace as she was growing up, including one of with her as a smiling baby alongside her two loving brothers as well of images of her on her travels.

It also included a picture of the Millane family enjoying a skiing trip – above the image it said ‘In a world where you can be anything, be kind.

And underneath that: ‘Let your smile change the world but don’t let the worlds change your smile’.

Grace’s father, David, read a eulogy to his daughter before the mourners left to the sounds of the Ed Sheeran song, Photograph. 

In a previous statement Grace’s family said: ‘By the amount of pictures and messages we received, she clearly loved this country, its people and the lifestyle. 

‘We all hope that what has happened to Grace will not deter even one person from venturing out into the world and discovering their own OE (overseas experience).’ 

‘We would like to thank the people of New Zealand for their outpouring of love, numerous messages, tributes and compassion. 

In a touching tribute, the order of service says ‘You are our sunshine’, referring to Ms Millane, above a large picture of the smiling family.

Another picture shows the family skiing with the words ‘In a world when you can be anything be kind’ and ‘Let your smile change the world but don’t let the world change your smile.’

A burial – for family and close friends only – is set to take place this afternoon in Ramsden Bellhouse. 

Ms Millane’s family have asked for any donations to be made to charities close to her heart – The Little Princess Trust, White Ribbon UK, Mutts in Distress and Smile Train.

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Today friends and family members are celebrating the life of Grace Millane, who died in New Zealand. Her funeral is taking place today in Brentwood, Essex

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Pictures from the order of service for the funeral of murdered Essex backpacker Grace Millan which is taking place at Brentwood Cathedral in Essex today. The 22 year old was in New Zealand when she died

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The family of murdered British backpacker Grace Millane (far right) have paid tribute to their ‘beautiful daughter and sister’. From left to right: Father David Millan, brother Michael Millane, mother Gillian Millane, brother Declan Millane and Grace

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A day before her funeral, her brother Declan Millane, posted a picture of him with his sister and older brother Michael Millane (pictured right) with a heart symbol on Instagram

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The 22-year-old, originally from Essex in south-east England, travelled to Auckland after visiting Peru and Machu Picchu

Yesterday, brother Declan posted a heartbreaking photo of himself with his sibling and their older brother Michael, with a single heart, on Instagram. 

Ms Millane’s family, who flew out to New Zealand to collect the body, previously paid tribute to the talented artist.

They said: ‘Grace went off to travel the world in mid-October and arrived in New Zealand on the 20th November.

‘By the amount of pictures and messages we received, she clearly loved this country, its people and the lifestyle.

‘We all hope that what has happened to Grace will not deter even one person from venturing out into the world and discovering their own OE (overseas experience).’

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Grace Millane’s (pictured) family, who flew out to New Zealand to collect the body, previously paid tribute to the talented artist

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British backpacker Grace Millane (pictured), had been travelling New Zealand when she disappeared on December 1. Her body was found more than a week later, on Sunday morning

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Grace Millane (left) with her mother Gillian. The incident caused New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden to apologise to the family

Calling the alleged crime ‘heinous’, the family also paid tribute to investigating officers for completing a ‘concise, stringent and thorough investigation’.

They added: ‘We would like to thank the people of New Zealand for their outpouring of love, numerous messages, tributes and compassion.

‘Grace was not born here and only managed to stay a few weeks, but you have taken her to your hearts and in some small way she will forever be a Kiwi.’

More than 1,000 people across New Zealand had previously turned out out for candlelight vigils held to commemorate the British tourist.

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Declan Millane, (pictured) wrote out the lyrics to You Are My Sunshine in a heartfelt tribute to his sister in December last year

The 22-year-old backpacker’s death has struck a deep chord in a country where many young people take gap years to travel and citizens gathered in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland in December to pay their respects.

The incident caused New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to apologise to her family on behalf of her country.

She said: ‘From the Kiwis I have spoken to there is this overwhelming sense of hurt and shame that this has happened in our country, a place that prides itself on our hospitality … especially to those who are visiting our shores,’ she said.

‘On behalf of New Zealand, I want to apologise to Grace’s family. Your daughter should have been safe here and she wasn’t and I’m sorry for that.’

From New Zealand, Ms Millane was intending to go to Fiji, then Australia before returning to Britain on June 26, 2019. 

She intended to go on another trip to the Far-East.

 

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