‘There is no easy way to say goodbye’ – Emotional York Minster service pays tribute to ‘smart, fun, beautiful’ Katie

13 Feb 2017 @ 3.05 pm
| News

Hundreds of people gathered at York Minster today (Monday) for the funeral of ‘smart, fun, brilliant and beautiful’ Katie Rough.

The ancient cathedral will have witnessed few sadder occasions than the service for Katie, seven, who died five weeks earlier.

Katie’s white coffin, decorated with pictures from her favourite Dr Seuss books, was brought to the Minster in a carriage pulled by two white horses.

Her parents, Paul and Alison Rough, were greeted at the South Piazza by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, who was conducting the service.

The family had asked that mourners wore formal dress with a splash of colour.

The funeral cortege arrives at York Minster
Katie’s coffin, decorated with pictures by Dr Seuss
The coffin of Katie Rough is carried towards the entrance to York Minster. Photograph: YorkMix

Katie’s uncle Steven Rough delivered a moving eulogy to Katie. He described losing a child as every parent’s nightmare but the family “have been overwhelmed with the support”.

He said: “Katie loved bacon, had a sassy nature and had a love of the outdoors. Even though Katie had selective mutism it did not stop her having fun with her friends.

“She loved going for walks, playing in the Museum Gardens, getting muddy and finding worms.”

Katie also loved reading and had a big book collection, he said. “She had a love for Dr Seuss, solving Rubik’s Cube with the help of dad and teddy bear’s picnics in the summer.

“Her family were her world and loved her mum and dad – but was described as a daddy’s girl through and through.”

Katie’s parents, Alison and Paul Rough, are greeted by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu
Katie’s family arrive before the service

Katie’s uncle Steven said bedtime could be a struggle and there were five different ways she would be carried up to bed. He said:

She was an absolutely brilliant young girl and she loved her dog Walter which she would dress up.

There is no easy way to say goodbye. We can’t dwell in sadness or keep asking the question why – when we may never know why.

This smart, fun beautiful child was taken from our lives at such a young age.

Six pallbearers and one small coffin. Photograph: PA / Danny Lawson
Light shines through the arched windows illuminating the procession. Photograph: PA / Danny Lawson
Katie’s coffin is brought through the splendour of the Minster. Photograph: PA / Danny Lawson

Dr Sentamu told the congregation he stayed with the coffin in the chapel at Bishopthorpe Palace overnight.

Friends from Katie’s school, Westfield Primary, were also there to pay tribute to their classmate.

At the end of the service Katie’s coffin was carried from the Minster to He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands with the words changed to “He’s got Katie in his hands”.

The scene at York Minster
The pallbearers enter the Minster
Katie’s family enter the cathedral for the service

Katie was discovered with serious injuries in a field behind Alness Drive in Woodthorpe on January 9, and died in York Hospital.

A girl, aged 15, has been charged with her murder and remanded in secure youth accommodation.

A picture of Katie with her pet dog Walter was displayed during the service. Photograph: PA / Danny Lawson
Colourful flowers on top of Katie’s coffin. Photograph: PA / Danny Lawson
Dr Sentamu led the service. Photograph: PA / Danny Lawson
The horse-drawn funeral carriage at the Minster’s South Piazza
Mourners were asked to wear formal outfits with a splash of colour
Police outside the Minster were asking cyclists to dismount. Media satellite vans can be seen to the left
The two-horse white carriage which brought Katie’s coffin to York Minster