'She had a special sparkle in her eye'... Arena enquiry hears about life and loves of Eilidh MacLeod
'The world was her oyster'by Paul Britton
"She was the warmest girl that you could ever meet.
"She had a special sparkle in her eye."
The words of the family of 14-year-old Eilidh MacLeod - whose life and loves were remembered today at the public inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing atrocity.
The inquiry began its fourth day in Manchester with the start of a two-week period of 'commemorative hearings'.
Pen portraits from the families and friends of the deceased, and moving personal evidence about them, will be heard and shown to the inquiry.
The attack on May 22, 2017, after the Ariana Grande concert, claimed 22 lives and left hundreds more injured.
Eilidh's family - her parents, Roderick and Marion, and sisters, Shona and Laura - spoke movingly of her life, and the family compiled a video tribute which was played at the inquiry.
The video showed beautiful, scenic images from the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, where Eilidh lived, and was set to Scottish pipe music.
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The chairman of the inquiry, Sir John Saunders, asked if he could address the MacLeod family after the video tribute was played.
He said it was a 'beautiful and fitting tribute'.
"Music has always played a great part in my life, but at the risk of upsetting the whole of Scotland, I have never been a great fan of the bagpipes," said Mr Justice Saunders.
"Watching that has begun to change my mind."
Footage of Eilidh playing the bagpipes was shown - alongside treasured family album photographs.
"Whatever Eilidh wanted to do, she would have been good at," said her mum Marion.
"The whole world's been shattered into pieces.
"We miss her, always.
"Her amazing sense of fun and sense of humour would just come shining through and that was you, you had a friend for life.
"Eilidh loved music. Music was such a big part of her life.
"The world was her oyster."
"We miss everything about her every single day," the family said in the video.
"We love her millions and always will."
Eilidh, said her mum, was a very special girl.
"Even her date of birth was quirky - 1, 2, 3, and she absolutely loved that," she said.
Eilidh was born on February 1, 2003.
The teenager had a strong love of animals as well as people, the inquiry was told.
Her family said it wouldn't have surprised them if she went on to work with animals in later life.
"She had this laugh... and even if you didn't know what she was laughing at, you had no resistance, you had to join in," the family said.
The inquiry was told she loved playing with her bagpipe band and had an 'incredible' circle of friends.
Her band were placed in the World Pipe Band Championships in 2016, a fact the inquiry was told filled her with a huge sense of pride.
She loved Harry Potter and studying English, and 'it was as if she had a dictionary stored in her brain', the tribute said.
Eilidh's primary school teacher, Michelle McLean, said it was a privilege to have taught her.
"She was the kind of girl who smiled all the time," she said.
"She giggled. She was happy.
"She was such a loving young girl - she loved, she smiled, she laughed. She cared about everybody.
"She was so bright in terms of her future.
"I will never forget her. She was a wonderful person."
Friends said they missed her so much.
They said they would often go to beaches with her after school - what they called their 'precious memories'.
"I miss her loads," said one. "And I always will."
Suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated a rucksack bomb in the City Room area of Manchester Arena after the concert.
Hashem Abedi, his brother, is currently serving a 55-year minimum sentence after being convicted over the atrocity.
The public inquiry - set to run until next spring - is examining all aspects of the bombing.