Touching tribute to young crash victim

Abi Hone
Abi Hone
A touching musical tribute today farewelled a "fun-loving, extroverted 12-year-old girl who enjoyed life" before she was killed in a horror triple-fatal car crash last weekend.

Around 2000 mourners, including many school children, paid their respects at Abi Hone's funeral at her old primary school in Christchurch this afternoon.

Abi died alongside her best friend Ella Summerfield, also 12, and Ella's mum Sally, 49, after a Dutch tourist allegedly ran a stop sign in rural Canterbury on May 31.

Her younger brother Paddy Hone today was "mind bogglingly brave" in singing several tribute songs -- including Lorde's hit Royals -- to his sister.

And a band of youngsters that Rangi Ruru pupil Abi herself had sung with, The Project, gave a touching performance, with Paddy taking his sister's place.

Two of Abi's closest friends, Imogen Bell and Alice Elworthy also sang in her memory.

The two-hour funeral service was held at Sumner School where both Abi and Ella attended as recently as last year.

Darren Wright, the Hone family spokesman, said children in attendance were from Sumner School, Rangi Ruru, St Margaret's (where Ella went to school), Christ's College and St Bede's.

"It just goes to show the breadth of hurt that's been felt right across the city," Mr Wright said.

"It was a real celebration of Abi's life."

The service was held inside the school hall, which overflowed into a large marquee, bedecked with loud speakers and big screen TVs.

Around eight musical interludes were interspersed with speakers, including father Trevor Hone and brother Ed, paying tribute to Abi.

Mr Hone recalled how they used to tell each other, 'I love you', whenever they left the room.

He reminded the gathering of the importance of taking the time to tell their family members how much they loved them.

Mr Wright said the Hone family wanted people to "recognise just how easy life can be taken from us".

And one thing the family could take heart from out of the tragedy, Mr Wright said, is that when Abi died, she was "one of the most loved little girls that could be around".

Tributes recalled the "very fun loving, extroverted 12-year-old girl who enjoyed life". She had a passion for music and could get so excited that she shook.

There were also references to the Summerfields during the service, Mr Wright said.

Afterwards, the wooden, specially-made coffin decorated in multi-coloured polka dots with 'Abi' painted on its end, was carried out of the hall by family members, including Mr Hone.

The funerals for Ella and Sally Summerfield will be held at the same venue on Thursday.

Johannes Jacobus Appelman, 52, has been charged with careless driving causing death in relation to the crash.

Appelman, on bail in the city, will reappear at Christchurch District Court on July 10.

- Kurt Bayer of APNZ

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