A community overwhelmed with grief did well not to let it
The funeral for Bradley (9) and Ellen (6) Livingstone at St
Leonards School today was more akin to a festival of
celebration, as family, friends and fellow pupils dressed in
bright colours as a tribute to Ellen, who was known for her
"quite out there'' fashion sense.
A hearse leaves the funeral. Photo by Craig Baxter
The celebratory atmosphere was created at the request of
the siblings' mother Katharine Webb who wanted the ceremony to
focus solely on the happiness the children brought and the
happy times they shared with all who knew them.
Bradley and Ellen were killed by their father, Edward
Livingstone (51), as they slept at their nearby Kiwi St home
on January 15.
Recent wet weather cleared for the afternoon funeral, and
about 500 people attended, many of them with their children
who went to school with Bradley and Ellen.
Bradley and Ellen Livingstone.
Music was a major part of the service and included
Bradley's favourite song, Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell,
and a piece written especially for the funeral by one of his
Among the touching tributes was one from the children's
mother, who described her son as "a very get-up-and-go sort
She said he was a dab hand in the kitchen, he was interested
in how things worked, and once he put his mind to something,
it was hard to stop him.
Ellen, on the other hand, was "the complete opposite to
Bradley'', she said.
She loved art, dancing, singing, she wasn't shy of cameras,
and she was something of a free spirit - especially when it
came to dressing herself.
She had fantastic hair-dos and her favourite thing to wear
was t-shirts layered one on top of the other, with the top
t-shirt worn over her head like a bolero jacket.
Despite their differences, Ms Webb said the two had a great
"They played really well together, but they also knew how to
wind each other up.
"My beautiful children, who were so caring; they were my
life, and still are, and I will love them forever and ever
Tears flowed from the congregation at her moving tribute.
But overall, there was a great deal of laughter, particularly
at some of the anecdotes from people who knew the family
As if to signal the end of the funeral, a front came up Otago
Harbour, shrouding the school in mist as the hearse pulled
away with the children.