WATCH: Close to a thousand people came together to say goodbye to young sisters Chloe and Aubrey Berry, who were murdered on Christmas Day. Tess van Straaten reports.
Church bells rang out Friday morning as hundreds of people made their way into Victoria’s Christ Church Cathedral to say goodbye to two little girls whose lives were cut tragically short.
“I would like Aubrey and Chloe to be remembered with great joy,” family friend Sandra Hudson told reporters outside the service. “Aubrey and Chloe were very joyful, happy girls and they brought joy to so many of us and so much love.”
The funeral service for Chloe and Aubrey Berry, or ‘Aubs’ as she was affectionately known, was an incredibly emotional one. Family, teachers and friends paid tribute to the girls and their infectious laughter and big hearts.
Six-year-old Chloe is being remembered as wise beyond her years ? a book lover who had “a smile that lit up the world and made the sun come out on cloudy days,” Hudson said during her eulogy.
“Chloe captured all life could offer and we could all learn from her approach,” added Michaela Winter, Chloe’s Grade One teacher at Christ Church Cathedral School. “We’re all forever changed for losing these girls.”
Aubrey, who would have been five at the end of this month, is being remembered as a brave and independent little girl who danced everywhere she went and loved painting. Aubrey’s preschool teachers at St. Christopher’s Montessori told the crowd she “radiated happiness” and “left an imprint on our hearts that will forever remain.”
For the girls’ grief-stricken mother, Sarah Cotton, the huge outpouring of support is helping her get through these dark days.
“The last several weeks have been very difficult and we’ve spent almost all of our time with Sarah,” family friend Trisha Lees said. “She’s shown remarkable courage and grace and dignity in this circumstance which is sort of beyond comprehension for most of us.”
Chloe and Aubrey were found dead on Christmas Day in their father, Andrew Berry’s, Oak Bay apartment. He’s been charged with second-degree murder.
In her sermon, Reverend Ansley Tucker said she’s “paid to be wise and can’t explain why these beautiful girls were taken”. But the tone of the memorial was one of memory and hope. Pink polka dot ribbons were handed out for everyone to wear.
“These were Chloe and Aubrey’s favourite colours ? pink and purple ? and this is a reminder that it is tiny little girls that we’re here to honour,” Lees said before the service.
Many of the more than 800 people who attended were total strangers, touched by this unimaginable tragedy.
“I think this will be the first step in the beginning of a process that’s going to be really long,” Lees said.
But one thing is clear ? Chloe and Aubrey will live on in the hearts of everyone who knew them.