The anguished family of murdered Paige Doherty arrived at an emotional vigil held to honour the young girl’s life last night.
Hundreds braved cold, dank weather to gather in Clydebank’s Whitecrook Park to pay tribute to the 4ft 8in tall would be hairdresser.
The crowd, some of whom had been diligently lighting tea light candles, and playing Paige’s favourite songs – by Coldplay and Snow Patrol – fell silent as the 15-year-old’s mum, Pamela Munro, arrived at the park.
Clutching to other family members for support at times, the dignified 32-year-old passed slowly through the crowd.
One on-looker, Lou McFean, 22, of Clydebank, said it was a heart-breaking sight that she will never forget.
“Paige’s mum showed such courage to come after everything she’s been through in the past few days,” said the Clydebank mum-of-toddler Jade, two. “But she was surrounded by love. Everyone has nothing but the deepest sympathy for her and her family.”
Around 1,000 people gathered at the vigil. They observed a minute’s silence and fireworks and balloons were let off.
There were no Chinese lanterns, however, as police had warned they could disrupt flights coming in to land at Glasgow Airport.
Paige’s close pal Angel White, 15, found the vigil incredibly moving.
“The one star visible in the sky was a sign Paige was looking down from above,” she told The Sunday Post. “Paige meant so much to this community. I knew her since primary school, words can’t describe what this loss has done to us.”
Angel’s dad John White, chair of the local community council, praised the community spirit. “We’re close knit and this is a sign of that,” he said. “She was one of ours and I think that’s why so many people decided to show how much they loved her.”
Another close school chum, Danielle Cardinal, 16, said: “The turn out was amazing, we’ve done her proud.”
Property developer Tina Browne, from Houston, Renfrewshire, is paying for a pink Mercedes car to take Paige’s pals to the funeral.
“Paige’s death has shocked everyone from Clydebank and the rest of the country,” she said. “I’d do anything I can to help out.”
Earlier yesterday the distraught granddad of tragic Paige confronted her alleged killer outside court.
Heartbroken William Munro, 54, was joined by other protestors outside Dumbarton Sheriff Court yesterday morning.
The emotional group shouted as hand-cuffed accused John Leathem was taken into the hearing.
Then Mr Munro, the events of the last week clearly having taken their toll on him, was gently led away by a police officer.
Police had upped security around the hearing “to ensure the safety of all concerned”.
Around 20 police officers wearing high visibility jackets were on duty as a G4S security van carrying Leathem arrived at the court building.
It was flanked by two police motorcycles and tailed by vans and squad cars.
The dramatic and emotional scenes outside the court building were in stark contrast to the sombre proceedings inside where Leathem made his first court appearance.
Leathem, 31, appeared on a charge of murdering the pretty and popular 15-year-old.
Following the brief hearing Leathem was remanded in custody by Sheriff William Gallacher.
He made no plea or declaration to the murder charge against him. He is due to appear in court again in April 1.
Schoolgirl Paige disappeared last Saturday morning after a sleepover at best friend Lauren Mills’s home, also in Clydebank.
The schoolgirl’s body was found on Monday in a wooded area off Great Western Road in Clydebank following a massive police search.
In an earlier statement, Paige’s mum Pamela said: “We are absolutely devastated we have lost our beautiful girl.”
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