A HEARTBROKEN family were today pictured carrying the pink coffin of schoolgirl found dead on a remote Scottish island earlier this month.

Alesha MacPhail's relatives carefully held the little girl's coffin on their shoulders, as hundreds turned out to pay their respects to the six-year-old.

The youngster was staying with relatives on the Isle of Bute at the start of the summer break when she was tragically found dead in woodland.

A 16-year-old boy was charged with rape and murder after the youngster's body was discovered on July 2, on the island in the Firth of Clyde.

Today her parents asked the hundreds of mourners who arrived for her funeral to wear something pink on "this very difficult day".

Her mum, Georgina Lochrane, led the tributes to Alesha with a heartbreaking note saying: "Every single day will be harder than the day before to walk this earth without you by my side."

Family and friends gathered for a service at Coats Funeral Home in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire today.

Alesha's uncle Calum MacPhail delivered an emotional speech about his niece.

He said: "Alesha would rather hurt than you, she had a great amount of love for absolutely everyone.

"Alesha is everything that I wanted to be, she was kind, caring, smart, I just cannot believe she is gone.

"She was the brightest thing."

He was comforted by Alesha's mother Georgina Lochrane, known as Genie, who went up to hug him as he returned to his seat.

Alesha was a pupil at Chapelside Primary School in nearby Airdrie where she had just finished P2 and her class teacher Emma Gibson also spoke.

She said: "Alesha was a bright and bubbly little girl, she always came into class with that big beautiful smile of hers.

"It was an absolute pleasure to have taught Alesha. I'm so grateful to have known this special little girl."

Heart-shaped wreathes and cuddly toys were placed outside the funeral home, along with loving notes.

Mourners wore pink ties and added pink touches to their outfits, as a mark of respect for the little girl.

A banner unfurled outside the funeral home read: "Our forever shining star, our little angel, always in our hearts."

Her entirely pink coffin was carried by family members, in traditional kilts - before she was taken to her final resting place at Coltswood Cemetery by white horse-drawn carriage.

Alesha was a pupil at Chapelside Primary School in nearby Airdrie.

Robert MacPhail's girlfriend Toni McLachlan also gave a tribute, saying: "Sleep tight, little angel."

The service was led by funeral director Fraser MacGregor, who said Alesha was an amazing and talented little girl and the "best big sister, best daughter, best granddaughter and friend that anyone could have asked for".

He said that Alesha will always be remembered as a "very loving girl, friendly, good natured and full of love" who enjoyed everything from doing gymnastics and riding her bike to baking cakes, listening to music and watching Peppa Pig.

Mr MacGregor also said that Alesha was fascinated by bubbles and had always wanted a bubble party on her birthday.

As music played at the end of the service a bubble machine sent bubbles drifting above the mourners' heads.

MacGregor Family Funeral Directors said in a statement on Facebook earlier: "With great sadness and heavy hearts we respectfully announce the funeral arrangements for little Alesha MacPhail.

"Following this, Alesha will be taken to her final resting place in Coltswood Cemetery.

"Alesha's family would welcome and be comforted by the attendance of anyone affected by this tragedy who wish to pay their final respects.

"We ask that the community show their support and help the family through this tragedy and through this very difficult day in their lives.

"Mum and Dad have requested that everyone wears something pink. Now in the arms of the Angels."

A candlelit vigil was held in Rothesay on Bute earlier this month and an online fundraiser set up to support relatives reached almost Ł13,000.

Alesha's mother Georgina Lochrane previously thanked those who have helped the family following the youngster's death.