'A life in Heaven with Gregg': Tributes to Jennie Stone at Hornsea funeral
LITTLE Charlie Stone followed his mum's coffin out of a Hornsea church clutching a single white rose – the same tribute she chose for her brother after he was killed in Afghanistan.
Less than nine months ago and 200 miles away in the Oxfordshire village of Carterton, near Brize Norton, Jennie Stone wept with her family in the pouring rain waiting for the hearse carrying the coffin of soldier Gregg for his repatriation.
The photograph of her drenched to the skin and holding the flowers summed-up the saddest-possible homecoming.
Yesterday, the Stone family – still reeling from losing Gregg – faced the agony of returning to St Nicholas in Hornsea for Jennie's funeral.
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More than 400 mourners filed into the church, with some forced to stand, to bid farewell to Jennie, who was killed in a crash on the A165 Hull to Bridlington road at Fraisthorpe, minutes after dropping Charlie off at Skipsea Primary School.
The Reverend Phil Lamb, who also led the soldier's service, told the congregation: "Jennie and Gregg, inseparable in life, are now reunited."
Their youngest brother, Kallum, 19, who has followed Gregg into the Army and hopes to join his brother's old unit, was among the pall-bearers.
He had been given special permission by officers to wear his combat uniform and Yorkshire Regiment beret.
Through tears, Kallum – who returns to Infantry Training Centre, Catterick in North Yorkshire on Monday to resume his basic training – delivered his eulogy to a loved sister, known affectionately by the family as "Jennie Wren". He said: "I am going to miss your shining face. I think of you and wonder why. I may cry, laugh and smile.
"But at the end of every day, I am a day closer to you."
Sister Rosie-Ann, 20, walked behind her parents Bob and Angie into the church, holding tightly against her chest their favourite picture of Jennie.
She read a self-penned poem to the congregation.
Next to her, Kallum and her other brothers, Graeme and Jamie, comforted her as she spoke lovingly of a treasured sister.
All four siblings wore a pink ribbon – Jennie's favourite colour – on their right arm in tribute to her.
A verse from Rosie-Ann's poem read:
"Surrounded by family,
I still feel alone.
My heart is so empty,
This pain I must own.
I wish I could hug you,
And just see your face.
But now I have memories,
To stand in your place."
Graeme described a tomboy sister who always "gave as good as she got" in childhood rows.
"She was as tough as nails," he said, but added that she combined grit with beauty and intelligence. "When Jennie was accepted into uni, she proved that she had brains and was also beautiful.
"She was the first of us to go to uni and she worked so hard."
Jennie was in the final year of a social work degree at the University of Lincoln's Hull campus.
Jamie, who also delivered a eulogy, said: "She was funny, compassionate, happy and strong, but if I had to sum her up in one word it would be 'infectious'."
Mr Lamb offered words of advice to the community of Hornsea, Jennie's heartbroken parents, her partner Dave Parker, and her brothers and sister.
"What we can do is support one another in our grief and sit and laugh at the good times," he said. "And Jennie would have loved that."
Inviting the congregation to join the family for a farewell drink at Hornsea Golf Club after a cremation in Octon, Mr Lamb told how Jennie would often dance the night away in high heels and a short skirt, with a glass of white wine in her hand.
"She would want you all to raise a glass, laugh as she did, work hard and play hard and remember her," he said.
"Her journey from this life may be over but she has started her life in heaven with Gregg."
Earlier this week, Angie spoke candidly about how her faith had been tested after losing two of her children.
She said: "I have to believe there is something after death. I have to believe I will see my kids again."