FAMILY and friends of 26-year-old Elle Edwards, who was shot outside a Wirral pub on Christmas Eve, have gathered to pay their respects at her funeral.

Elle was celebrating Christmas with friends when a gunman opened fire at the Lighthouse pub in Wallasey Village, shortly before midnight.

She is not believed to have been the intended target of the attack.

Wirral Globe: Elle Edwards Elle Edwards (Image: Merseyside Police)

Her funeral was held today (Wednesday, January 25) at St Nicholas Church in Wallasey.

Mourners dressed in black arrived at the church in the rain for the service at 12.30pm.

The funeral cortege was led by a hearse with a floral tribute saying "Elle".

Ms Edwards' coffin was brought in a carriage pulled by four white horses.

It was carried into the church, with a floral display on top of it, by pallbearers, including her father Tim.

Wirral Globe: The funeral cortege involved a horse drawn carriage and the horses had red, pink and white plumesThe funeral cortege involved a horse drawn carriage and the horses had red, pink and white plumes (Image: PA)

The order of service included hymn Be Still for the Presence of the Lord and said a eulogy, Remembering Elle, would be given.

During the service, Rev Jeff Staples, spoke about a conversation he had with Elle's father.

He said: "Tim mentioned in an interview how he and Elle used to find great joy walking in the Lakes - so I hope Tim doesn’t mind me mentioning that when we met the other day here in St Nicholas the two of us spoke about finding peace.

"Tim said that he found peace when walking up to the top of a high hill and stopping to gaze out – he experienced stillness and calm – I think that is how many people seek peace isn’t it – to get out of the local hub-bub of life and just be in a place of calmness – of stillness – to be in the moment.

Wirral Globe: Elle Edwards' father, Tim Edwards said his daughter was the most beautiful and bright starElle Edwards' father, Tim Edwards said his daughter was the most beautiful and bright star (Image: PA)

"Walking up high hills is not something I tend to do – so I told Tim that when things are getting to me – when I’m feeling like the world is crushing me - I come to this house of prayer – and I sit in the silence – in the stillness – and just be in the moment… to find peace.

"Being at peace is important right now – it’s always important – but it’s particularly important right now – it’s important because many of you – if not all – will be going through a whole range of emotions – sadness and grief obviously – maybe anger – or fear – or anxiety – shock – bewilderment. I could go on but you know what I mean – we are emotionally in a kind of fuzz where nothing feels solid."

Rev Staples also spoke about the anger many people in Wirral felt about the circumstances surrounding Elle's death.

He said: "The light of hope will continue to shine every time somebody stands up and says 'this must stop'.

"I know Tim has said that he wants to work for good – to find ways to break this circle of violence that wants to destroy everything we hold dear – I pray that the good Tim wants to do bears great fruit – and this is the way of hope – the way of saying the darkness of evil will not extinguish the light of goodness."

Wirral Globe: The order of service from Elle Edwards' funeral The order of service from Elle Edwards' funeral (Image: PA)

Mourners were asked for donations to the Elle Edwards Foundation in her memory.

Mr Edwards said last week he hoped a foundation in her memory would combat gun violence in the region.

The service was followed by a private cremation at Landican Cemetery.

The Lighthouse pub was closed on Wednesday as a mark of respect to the beautician.

A statement on the pub's Facebook page said: "Elle and her family have remained very much in our thoughts over these past few weeks and even more so right now.

"May she rest in peace."

Connor Chapman, 22, has been charged with murdering Ms Edwards and is due to go on trial on June 7.