Sarah Cotton with her daughters Chloe (left) and Aubrey (right) taken in October 2017. (Photo Ryan MacDonald Photography)

VIDEO: A thousand come out to honour two B.C. girls found dead Christmas Day

Mourners gather in massive Victoria cathedral

Church bells tolled as Christ Church Cathedral filled to capacity today for the service honouring the lives of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey Berry, two young sisters found dead on Christmas Day in their father’s Oak Bay apartment.

The first few rows of pews held close friends and family including the girls’ mother, Sarah Cotton, and many of the girls’ young friends from school. There was a sea of bright polka dot ribbons attached to lapels. Pictures of the girls were placed around the cathedral with flowers and boxes of kleenex. It was a difficult day for a tight community trying to come to terms with a loss of such magnitude.

Reverend Canon Susanne House set the tone of the ceremony by saying that it was a service of hope – hope for our children, and hope for ourselves.

Touching and personal stories were shared by people close to the family, stories that conjured laughter and tears.

The choirs and musicians filled the cathedral with songs chosen personally by Cotton.

Family friend Sandra Hudson gave the eulogy, sharing loving and humourous stories of Chloe and Aubrey Berry.

The Very Reverend M. Ansley Tucker offered guidance to the reeling community.

“Our whole life compass has been scrambled,” said Rev. Tucker. “We will be changed forever but the question is how we change. And that is up to us.”

After the service, the community filed into the Christ Church Cathedral School gym where Chloe attended school. A circle of hugs and support encircled Sarah Cotton in the room decorated with rainbow coloured roses.

“We’ve taken a lot of care in planning over the last 10 days or so,” said family spokesperson Trisha Lees ahead of today’s public memorial service.

As expected by organizers, close to a thousand people flowed through the front doors of the church for the 11 a.m. service to celebrate the sisters.

Christ Church Cathedral School, where Chloe attended Grade 1, released the students today and the gymnasium was open for the reception following the service.

While Chloe attended Willows elementary for kindergarten, she loved her new school Lees said.

“She really loved this school, she really thrived here,” Lees said. “The thing she was talking about most was learning French.”

“My most favourite memories of them are a series of them really, where we spent time at the beach,” Lees told the Oak Bay News. “They lived particularly close to Willows Beach and I have two little daughters as well so we would spend time on that beach all of us. Kids on a beach there’s nothing not to love about that.”

Andrew Berry, the girls’ father, faces two charges of second-degree murder.

“In times of such immense and overwhelming grief, no words can make sense of this tragic loss of life and its impact on a family, a community and a city,” said the Very Reverend Ansley Tucker of Christ Church Cathedral, ahead of the service. “The service provides an opportunity to shoulder each other’s pain, to plant the seeds of hope, and to commend two little girls to the safe keeping of God.”

A scholarship in memory of Chloe and Aubrey has been set up through the Victoria Foundation to provide scholarships to children attending Christ Church Cathedral School. Making a donation in support of the Chloe and Aubrey Berry Scholarship Fund can be done by phone (250-381-5532), cheque, or online.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Christ Church Cathedral, one of Canada’s largest churches, not only accommodated the large community turnout but also has a close connection to the family. Six-year-old Chloe attended Grade 1 at Christ Church Cathedral School that sits on the corner of the cathedral grounds. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Christ Church Cathedral, one of Canada’s largest churches, not only accommodated the large community turnout but also has a close connection to the family. Six-year-old Chloe attended Grade 1 at Christ Church Cathedral School that sits on the corner of the cathedral grounds. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Just Posted

Most cows saved during massive fire on Agassiz farm thanks to fast work of farmers, neighbours

Agassiz Fire Department responded to late night call Wednesday

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Massive fire destroys Agassiz dairy barn

Reports say at least one cow died in the blaze

Chilliwack firefighter seeking to reunite Rosedale VFD’s old auxiliary fire pump with antique engine

It’s been four decades, but Pat Liebault is hoping to reunite Rosedale’s auxiliary pump and engine

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Extradition hearing set for Lower Mainland developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read