Derby

Mia Ayliffe-Chung: Memorial service for backpacker killed in Australia

Mia Ayliffe-Chung Image copyright Rosie Ayliffe
Image caption Mia Ayliffe-Chung was staying near Townsville, Queensland, when she was stabbed to death

Hundreds of people have attended a memorial service for a backpacker stabbed to death at an Australian hostel.

Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 20, from Wirksworth, Derbyshire, was killed in Queensland in August.

Smail Ayad, 29, has been charged with her murder and that of another British backpacker, Thomas Jackson.

The ceremony at St Mary's Church, Wirksworth, included Buddhist, Islamic and Sikh readings.

Image caption Hundreds turned up to pay their respects to Mia

A funeral held for Mia in Queensland earlier this month was crowd-funded by her friends.

Her mother Rosie Ayliffe said the ceremony for family and friends in Australia was a "moving and beautiful", but the memorial was for the Wirksworth community.

In her eulogy to her daughter, Ms Ayliffe said: "She embraced the world, she had a generosity of spirit, she was a caring, loving soul who loved caring for children.

"Her year in Australia was her happiest ever. People have told me since Mia's death they are holding their dearest tighter.

"Tom Jackson showed extraordinary bravery and paid the ultimate price for someone he barely knew. It was a testament to his compassion.

"We must try and find ways to make her memory live on through acts of kindness.

"The girl with the smile lives on."

Image caption Tributes were paid to Mia at the private ceremony

Ms Ayliffe said the memorial was a "Christian service" with contributions from Buddhism, Islam and Sikhism to reflect Mia's travels and beliefs.

Canon David Truby conducted the service and said it was important people in the UK had a chance to say goodbye.

He said: "Mia was in Australia for almost a year before this tragic event happened and so people who knew her... will have a sense of having her torn away from them."

Les Jackson, whose son Tom tried to save Mia, also attended the memorial service.

Mia's ashes will be scattered by fellow travellers in countries she visited or wanted to visit.

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