A COMMUNITY gathered under a leaden sky yesterday to pay its last respects to a ten-year-old boy and his teenage sister who were killed in a car accident.

Sports-mad Lee Armstrong was laid to rest dressed in his school football team strip, alongside his sister, Jenna, 19, following an emotional funeral service.

Lee and Jenna died on Saturday when her Citroen Saxo first collided with a Nissan Micra and was then hit by another vehicle at High Handenhold, between Chester-le-Street and Stanley, County Durham.

Yesterday, heavy clouds added to the sombre mood as hundreds of mourners filed into Holy Trinity Church, in nearby Pelton.

A soft drizzle began to fall as the funeral cortege arrived with white coffins in two flower-bedecked hearses.

Leading the mourners were the pair's parents, Ray and Karen Armstrong, of Ouston, near Chester-le-Street. Mr Armstrong is a retired policeman who worked for Northumbria Police in Houghton-le-Spring. They were joined by their sister, Lindsay, and her five-year-old daughter, Briony, whom they had been on their way to visit when the accident happened.

Jenna's coffin had her name in pink and white flowers, while Lee's were in blue and white.

On top of Lee's hearse were flowers in the shape of footballs and football boots, and a ball signed by fellow team members from the Hilda Park under-11s team. He was dressed in his Pelton Community Primary School team strip.

Licensed reader Ken Moffat said the order of service included the hymns Shine Jesus Shine and All Things Bright and Beautiful.

Speaking after the service, he said: "It is a most difficult time and the parents and family deserve every admiration.

"Both father and mother read something for the children and that took an enormous amount of courage and strength.

"They spoke of how full of life Jenna and Lee were and how Lee loved playing football."

Mr Moffat said the service was also attended by many pupils from Lee's school, which had given his year group the day off for as a mark of respect.

He said: "I know a lot of kids were broken up by the tragedy. I think the standing of the two young people in the community was expressed by the number of people who attended."

* The Northern Echo was invited by Jenna and Lee's family to attend the funeral.