HUNDREDS gathered today to pay tribute to “much loved” Chloe Mitchell.
The tragic 21-year-old was remembered as a “vivacious” young woman with a “generous heart” as she was laid to rest.
Huge searches had been mounted for Chloe, who had been last seen on Saturday June 3, before human remains were found on June 11.
Police this week confirmed the remains were those of the young woman.
A service of thanksgiving for her life took place at her home in Ballymena.
Hundreds gathered to watch on a large screen in King George Harryville Park – the same location where a vigil was held for the young woman a few weeks ago.
The park was adorned with pink ribbons, pink balloons and pictures of Ms Mitchell.
Bouquets of flowers were left beside the large screen at King George V Park where mourners, including representatives from the Community Rescue Service who helped in the search for Ms Mitchell, watched on.
Leading the service, Rev Eddie Chestnut of Harryville Presbyterian Church described a “community in shock”.
He remembered Chloe as a “vivacious” girl with a “generous heart” and a contagious laugh.
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He said: “She had a very distinctive laugh – she had the kind of laugh that made others laugh.
“Chloe’s sudden passing has left a void in the hearts of all who knew and loved her.”
The youngest of her family, those gathered to pay tribute to her life heard how Chloe was “much loved” by her parents and siblings.
Rev Chestnut continued: “She matured into a beautiful young woman, and as she did so Chloe became more confident and more outgoing.”
The Ballymena woman loved fashion and make-up, and was always very proud of her hair.
The Minister added: “Always had an eye for the right trainers or the right jacket.”
Chloe was also great with children and always had time to play with her younger family members in the park.
Rev Chestnut said: “She adored young children and she was adored by young children.
“She was a favourite of all the nephews and nieces in the family.
“Chloe could often be found in the park with a gang of small children organising activities for their amusement… playing football, arranging obstacle courses, blowing bubbles, all for the delight of a crowd of small children.
“Chloe was much loved by her devoted parents and by her siblings.”
Chloe also loved music, as the Minister recounted: “She was the noisy one in the house. She loved music of all kinds, as long as it was loud.”
During the heartbreaking service, Rev Chestnut thanked all those who assisted in the search for Chloe.
He said: “All who knew and who loved Chloe have been stunned and deeply saddened by her passing. We are a community in shock.
“This is not the way it is supposed to be. Young people are not supposed to die.
“Parents are not supposed to bury their children. Grandparents are not supposed to mourn the passing of their grandchildren.
“This is not the way it is supposed to be. 21-year-olds are supposed to be carefree.
“21-year-olds are supposed to bring joy to their families. 21-year-olds are supposed to be able to look forward to the rest of their lives.”
Bagpipes led Chloe’s coffin, accompanied by her name spelt in pink and purple flowers, to a private interment in Ballee Cemetery.
Two men have appeared in court on charges connected to Chloe’s death.
Brandon John Rainey, 26, from James Street in Ballymena, is charged with killing the young woman and Ryan Johnston Gordon, 34, from Nursery Close, Ballymena, is charged with assisting an offender.