HUNDREDS of mourners have gathered for the funeral of Hollie Thomson in West Belfast, where the mum-of-one was described as “a ray of sunshine.”

Sadness and heartbreak filled St Michael the Archangel Church in Finaghy Road North as the funeral of the 28-year-old took place.

Hollie’s partner, 31-year-old Christopher Morelli, appeared in court last week charged with her murder. A GoFundMe page has been set up by friends of Hollie’s sister, Katie, as Hollie wanted to have a support fund set up for her daughter and did not get a chance to do so.

A large crowd followed on foot as the hearse made its way to St Michael's Church.

Father Brendan Mulhall spoke about the beautiful and kind person that Hollie was and of the many lives she had touched.

Hollie was deeply loved, cherished and appreciated by everyone who knew her, he told the packed church.

“Hollie was a young woman who touched the lives of very, very many people as evidenced by the huge crowd of people that is here today. Every one of us has had our lives touched by Hollie’s and that is why we are here today.

“She was funny without even trying to be and her big laugh meant that you would hear her before you saw her.

“She had a beautiful and unforgettable smile that radiated so much kindness and warmth. When Hollie walked into a room her smile lit up the room, her smile was like a ray of sunshine.”

GUARD OF HONOUR: Family and friends mourn the loss of Hollie, whose smile was like a ray of sunshine.

GUARD OF HONOUR: Family and friends mourn the loss of Hollie, whose smile was like a ray of sunshine.

Hollie was a classroom assistant in various schools, including Harberton School where she had worked for many years.

Colleagues and friends from Harberton formed a guard of honour before the funeral Mass.

“Her natural kindness and her compassion made her an ideal person to work with young people especially children with additional needs and learning challenges," said Fr Feeney. "Hollie took pride in the children that she worked with, she celebrated their achievements and encouraged them to aim high, she wanted them to reach their potential and make their dreams come true.”

Hollie was an "absolutely devoted mummy” who shared an “unbreakable and very special bond” with her daughter Ayla, he added.