The skies may have been sombre and grey but nothing could dampen the outpouring of love and respect for Leah Croucher as people lined the route of her funeral procession this morning.
It had stopped raining as the funeral cortege, led by an undertaker who walked ahead of a horse-drawn hearse, made its way along the three-mile route on Leah’s final journey to Crownhill Crematorium.
Many people had lined the pavements near Leah’s family home in White Horse Drive, Emerson Valley, before the cortege set off and along the route with traffic coming to a halt as a mark of respect.
People gathered on the overbridge near The Retirement Village at Shenley, others along the side of the V3, all bowing their heads as the cortege, adorned with many with beautiful floral tributes, passed.
A crowd of mourners had also gathered outside the crematorium, some with balloons emblazoned with the poignant words ‘fly high Leah’.
The funeral ended at approximately 1pm with mourners respecting the family’s wishes for a private service, before Leah was laid to rest.
Earlier people visited the Church of the Servant King in Furtzon which was open from 10am today for members of the community to take a moment of reflection in quiet prayer or to light a candle in Leah’s memory.
Leah Croucher went missing on February 15, 2019, the morning after Valentine’s Day. She had left her Emerson Valley home as normal to walk to work and seemingly had disappeared with trace.
The last CCTV sighting showed her walking through the Furzton estate.
Last October, nearly four years after her disappearance, a body was discovered hidden in the attic of a house on Loxbeare Drive in Furzton – a property she would pass on her route to work.
Police later confirmed that the human remains were that of the 19-year-old teenager. A murder enquiry has been launched and nobody has yet been arrested – though police have named deceased Milton Keynes man Neil Maxwell as a suspect.
Leah’s family said: “As a family, we would like to thank everyone who has expressed their condolences during this incredibly difficult stage of our lives. Losing Leah has been one of the most painful times of our lives. Her family has also asked anybody planning to spend money on flowers for Leah to donate the cash to the Missing People charity instead.
A special fundraising page had been set up through JustGiving and – at the time of writing – had already raised nearly £4,000.