THE funeral of a 17-year-old girl brought a village to a standstill as hundreds of people turned out to say goodbye to their “community princess”.

Family and friends of Molly Bower Patterson lined Sherburn Village’s Front Street as they gathered to pay their respects to the popular teenager, many of them dressed in purple – her favourite colour.

Molly, from Sherburn Hill, died last month after falling ill while on a family holiday in Majorca, in Spain.

Her funeral took place today at St Mary’s church, in Sherburn Village, in a service led by the Reverend Tom Glover.

The Northern Echo: Molly Bower Patterson, from Sherburn HillMolly Bower Patterson, from Sherburn Hill

Mourners followed a horse-drawn carriage carrying her purple coffin, which was adorned with pictures of her and the people who loved her.

The emotional service included heartfelt tributes to Molly, who was described as a “wonderful person” who brought love and joy to the lives of many, especially her mother Danielle, stepfather Walter, sister Lily-ann, grandparents Tracey and John, aunt and uncle Dominique and Dylan, cousins Thomas and Jay, great-grandmother Mary and late great-grandfather Jack.

Known for her love of dancing, funeral-goers did her favourite the dance – the Cha Cha Slide – in her memory.

The Northern Echo: Molly Bower, 17, from Sherburn Hill, near Durham, died in MallorcaMolly Bower, 17, from Sherburn Hill, near Durham, died in Mallorca

Rev Glover said: “Family meant the world to Molly and she was the glue that held them together, always caring for anyone in need.

“Molly was someone who had so many friends. Her family has been overwhelmed by people saying Molly was their best friend.

“She had a wonderful sense of humour and she had a strong sense of what was right.

“She was cherished by everyone whose lives she touched. She was our community princess in Sherburn Hill. This has been reflected in how much love has been shown to Molly’s family.”

Molly, who attended Sherburn Hill Primary School and Belmont Community School, had just started a course in travel and tourism and wanted to become a Butlins redcoat.

On her 16th birthday, she changed her name by deed poll to become Molly Patterson, taking her stepfather’s name.

An investigation is underway into the cause of Molly’s death.

She was diagnosed with mumps shortly before her death on October 11. Molly was vaccinated against the disease as a child.

Following the service, a collection was held for Belmont School, which is working with Molly's family and is planning fundraising to raise awareness about vaccination.