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)

VIDEO: A thousand come out to honour Chloe and Aubrey Berry at public funeral

“We will be forever changed by this, but the question is how we change. And that is up to us”

Church bells tolled as Victoria’s 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.”

While media were asked to remain outside the service, Hudson and Lees spoke to the media ahead of time.

“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.”

The girls’ father faces two charges of second-degree murder in their deaths.

chloe and aubrey berryChrist Church Cathedralfuneral

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

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

Island Health to use Saanich recreation centre to support pandemic needs

Cedar Hill Recreation Centre will be used as a referral-only assessment clinic

Tents, sleeping bags donated to Our Place from local Victoria store

Robinson’s Outdoor Store received funds from PwC Canada to make the donation

Victoria police arrest man in stolen Jubilee Hospital worker’s car

Suspect found in car with drugs, stolen property and weapons

Victoria to reassess 2020 budget in light of COVID-19; more hotel rooms found for the homeless

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps provided an update on municipal measures on March 31

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Nanaimo dentists donate 4,000 masks, 25,000 gloves to health-care peers

Nanaimo District Dental Society collects items for front-line workers during COVID-19 pandemic

No laws in B.C. to force businesses to offer refunds, even during a pandemic

Black Press Media talks to Consumer Protection BC on how to navigate during COVID-19

COVID-19 essential workers can apply for B.C. pre-school child care

Parent referral opens, providers offered emergency funding

Most abiding by COVID-19 rules, back fines, arrests of those who aren’t: poll

But 64 per cent said they’ve personally witnessed people not respecting the measures

Most Read