A SPECIAL memorial service has taken place for a young girl who will be remembered in the hearts and minds of a community forever.
Tayla Saunders was tragically killed just 11 days before her sixth birthday after she ran out behind a commercial truck at the Lanlivery Vintage Rally and Country Fair, near Lostwithiel.
Despite courageous attempts to save the life of the little girl, who suffered from cystic fibrosis and who lived near Honiton, Devon, she died.
Tayla had been at the fair with her foster family, when she was struck by the slowly reversing vehicle.
Earlier this week the village's close-knit community united at a special service at St Brevita of Lanlivery to honour the little girl's life.
Inside the village church two lit candles glowed either side of photographs of a schoolgirl with big sparkling blue eyes and a mischievous smile, who was full of love and laughter.
Her foster parents David, 66, and Carole, 65 – who did not wish to give their surnames – supported by their son Michael and his wife Hilary made the two-hour journey to pay tribute to their little "humming bird", fighting back tears as they described Tayla's bravery in the face of hospital appointments and operations, and her unconditional love and zest for life which made her unique.
After the moving service David and Carole told the Cornish Guardian of the emptiness that had been left behind by the loss of their treasured Tayla.
They will hold in their hearts forever "the cuddles and the love that she had for us and the love that she had for other people."
David said: "She always wanted to help others whether she could or not. Her energy was never-ending from the time she got up in the morning to the time she went to bed."
They have been deeply moved by the tributes and support.
Since the death more than 150 people attended a service where the family live. On Tayla's sixth birthday friends at Upottery School released balloons into the sky in a moving tribute to the much-loved pupil.
In Lanlivery a memorial has been placed in the churchyard. The cross with a plaque engraved with Tayla's name and the dates of her life will remain in the grounds forever, donated by Co-operative Funeral Care.
Diane Williams, show secretary, said: "Tayla will be remembered in the hearts and the minds of the people of Lanlivery forever. We have never experienced anything like this before and it shook us to our roots.
"We will never get over this tragedy but we will learn to live with it."
David and Carole added: "She always said she never wanted to leave us. The truth is we never wanted her to either.
"She will be in our hearts forever."