St Leonards farewells 'beautiful children'

A community overwhelmed with grief did well not to let it overflow.

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
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.
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 classmates.

Among the touching tributes was one from the children's mother, who described her son as "a very get-up-and-go sort of boy''.

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 bond.

"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 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 well.

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.


Add a Comment



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter