Colourful farewell for bus crash teenager Natasha Paton

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Grieving friends of a girl who died when her school bus crashed in a blizzard donned brightly-coloured clothes today as they celebrated her life.

Classmates wore special hoodies dedicated to Natasha Paton as they gathered to say their final farewells.

The 17-year-old died after a coach carrying 39 pupils and five members of staff from Lanark Grammar School lost control, collided with a bridge and plunged into a river during a snowstorm last week.

Natasha, from Cleghorn, South Lanarkshire, was travelling with classmates to Alton Towers theme park in Staffordshire when the accident happened on the A73 near Biggar.

Yesterday would have been her 18th birthday.

Today, hundreds of mourners gathered at St Nicholas Parish Church in Lanark to pay tribute to the sixth-form pupil at a special service.

Her parents had requested that mourners wore brightly-coloured clothing to the celebration of their daughter's life.

Mourners began arriving from midday, many of the youngsters wearing her favourite colour, purple.

Others wore light blue hooded tops with "Gone But Not Forgotten, Natasha" printed on the back.

The church, which holds 700 people, was almost full by 1pm and mourners also lined the pavements outside the building in Lanark High Street.

Her family, also wearing splashes of purple, linked arms as they walked into the church. The service was led by the Reverend Sarah Ross, who is also chaplain at the school.

Earlier in the day there was a private funeral service at Holytown Crematorium.

The service started with Michael Buble's Haven't Met You Yet, and the Leona Lewis song I Got You was also played.

Ms Ross, the school chaplain, described Natasha as a "lovely person who touched many more lives than she realised".

She said: "This service can only begin to touch on the life of Natasha, so I encourage you to use your own memories to fill in the bits we don't remember today and share them with each other.

"We are incredibly sad that she is no longer with us and we would do anything to have her back.

"But that does not mean we cannot enjoy the memories, share our stories and laugh as well as cry."

She went on: "The family tell me that Natasha would have loved all of this attention.

"The family want this to be as uplifting as Natasha was with her smile and her nature."

The chaplain followed with a prayer and said: "We won't ever forget her, she meant too much to us.

"She was a lovely person who touched many more lives than she realised."

A poem was then read out by fellow people and close friend Kerry Stevenson.