It was an emotional Friday morning in Victoria as the two young girls killed on Christmas Day were laid to rest.
The memorial for six-year-old Chloe Berry and four-year-old Aubrey Berry was held at Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria at 11 a.m and was open to the public.
Two friends of the girls’ mother, Sarah Cotton, spoke to reporters outside the church before the service.
“I would like Aubrey and Chloe to be remembered with great joy,” said friend Sandra Hudson. “Aubrey and Chloe were very joyful, happy girls, and they brought joy to so many of us and so much love. I hope that as the months and years go by when people think of Chloe and Aubrey, they think of joy.”
She added the Berry family is so grateful for the show of support from the community.
“I think the show of support from the community has been outstanding but I also think it’s a reflection of Sarah and Aubrey and Chloe,” added Hudson. “I think people only receive back what they put out into the world.”
Friend Trisha Lees said the last few weeks have been very difficult and they have been spending all their time with Cotton.
“What I will say of her, is she’s shown remarkable courage, grace and dignity under the circumstance. As a friend, I feel really proud of her and I think today, all of our friends and family and people we don’t know, it really helps to see what an outpouring of support that she has.”
Lees added that they have spent a long time planning the service on Friday, making sure the songs reflect the young girls and the tone is right for the occasion.
Police found the sister’s bodies in their father Andrew Berry’s Oak Bay apartment – where they’d been for an overnight visit – on Christmas Day after Cotton reported the dad had failed to return them as scheduled.
Andrew Berry has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder.
Court documents reviewed by Global News reveal the girls’ parents had been locked in a bitter custody battle since their estrangement in 2013.
Last spring, documents filed by Cotton found in a custody judgment suggested that Berry had threatened to “blow up the house” in a fight over money.
Concerns were also raised that he was inappropriately touching one of the girls.
Berry was warned by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) over that issue, but a judge later ruled it was in the girls’ best interest to spend time with him, and that he was “a loving father who has much to offer his daughters.”
WATCH: Coverage of Chloe and Aubrey Berry on Globalnews.ca
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