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Praise for tragic Olivia’s pals from headmaster ahead of her funeral

Olivia Pratt Korbel: Mum's heartbreaking tribute to daughter

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Olivia, nine, was killed and her mother Cheryl wounded as she tried in vain to stop a gunman chasing a stranger into their home in Liverpool on August 22.

Her family and friends, including pupils from St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Junior School, will gather to say a final goodbye this morning.

Headteacher Rebecca Wilkinson said children at the school wanted to create a permanent memorial to Olivia, adding that all 480 pupils had been offered counselling.

She said their talks had been “heartening” and “brought happiness in a tragic situation”.

Ms Wilkinson said: “Olivia would walk into my room with her friends and her smile would light up the place. She oozed kindness and was quite a character. We have had counsellors in every class. That’s definitely helped and what has been great is how resilient the children have been.

“They are devastated at the loss of their friend, they truly are, but the counselling has definitely helped and we have been so proud of the resilience the children have shown since they’ve been back.”

The headteacher said the youngsters “are happy to chat about her” and “are not frightened to mention her name”.

Ms Wilkinson added: “What has been nice since the children have come back are the memories that they have shared from what they remember of Olivia. That’s brought a lot of happiness really in what is a very tragic situation.”

She recalled how Olivia once mischievously came to school wearing pink nail polish, and spent the day with her hands closed to hide it from the teachers.

The headteacher said today would be dedicated to the schoolgirl and pupils had been encouraged to wear pink.

So far, nine men have been arrested and released in connection to the shocking incident. Crimestoppers founder Lord Ashcroft has offered a £50,000 reward for information that leads to convicting the killer.

Lord Ashcroft said: “We need to catch the cowards responsible. Olivia’s murder has shocked us all, which is why I have made this offer to help get justice.”

The funeral takes place at St Margaret Mary’s Church in Dovecot, Liverpool.

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