Residents unite in Mikaeel tribute

Witney Gazette: People have already attended a memorial service for Mikaeel Kular People have already attended a memorial service for Mikaeel Kular

Communities have gathered on the banks of the Forth for an emotional tribute to three-year-old Mikaeel Kular.

Hundreds of people turned up to remember the boy at vigils at Cramond Beach in Edinburgh and Pathhead Sands in Fife, as well as a third event in Livingston.

His body was discovered in Fife last Friday after he was reported missing from his home in the north of Edinburgh.

More than 350 people came together at Cramond Beach to light candles along the shore in his memory, many of whom had taken part in searches for the youngster.

Colourful balloons and Chinese lanterns were released at 7pm before a minute silence was observed.

Helen McHale, 48, and her daughter Claire McHale, 21, from West Pilton, were among those who came to pay their respects.

Helen said: "Tonight is just to say a cheerio to the wee boy and I hope he rests in peace. I think everyone is really sad about it, it's so close to home.

" This community has had a bad press in the past but it's just brought everyone together. It's nice to know that people care."

Clare said: "I feel this is the closure that everyone needs, for the community to say goodbye."

Conner Dickson, 15, from Drylaw, organised a previous memorial event last weekend in the nearby Muirhouse St Andrew's Church.

He said that funds were being raised to install a memorial bench or climbing frame in the community in memory of Mikaeel.

"I just feel like I haven't done enough for the wee boy," he said. "This is the only way we can find closure."

Marcus Walker, 10, from Craigleith, goes to Flora Stevenson Primary School, where Mikaeel attended nursery and his siblings were pupils.

He said: "He was at our school and I knew his brother. Everyone is sad."

Mikaeel was reported missing from his home in the Drylaw area of the capital on the morning of January 16.

Police Scotland issued his photograph and appealed to the public for help in finding him.

Hundreds of volunteers from the local community joined police and specialist teams as they searched the surrounding area that day and the next.

But in the early hours of Saturday January 18, Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham revealed that the body of a young boy had been discovered in Fife, and that a woman had been detained.

Investigations were focused in an area of woodland behind a house in the Fife town of Kirkcaldy.

Mikaeel's mother Rosdeep Kular was formally arrested and charged in connection with her son's death later that Saturday.

The 33-year-old appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday charged with his murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

She made no plea or declaration, was remanded in custody and committed for further examination.

Kular is expected to make a second appearance at the court on Tuesday.

The organiser of the Send Off for Mikaeel event, Hayley Clements, 27, told those gathered: "Thank you for coming, obviously it has touched many hearts in the community."

Local councillor Cammy Day said he was proud of the way those in the local area had come together.

"We have seen the amazing community spirit that we've always known existed in Muirhouse shine and bring the wider north Edinburgh community together.

"For us we hope that the same community spirit will keep that community going in the future, that they will have some lasting memory of all the efforts that they put in to bring their community together to search for one of their community.

"We've always known this is a warm and welcoming community and this just proves that.

"I'm pretty sure that this event will just make Muirhouse and north Edinburgh an even better place."

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