The heartbroken family of tragic Irvine schoolgirl Grace Handling have spoken of facing their first Christmas without her.

Teenager Grace, passed away a day before the summer holidays on June 29 after taking ecstasy tablets.

The 13-year-old’s body was found at a house in Arran Place. And her dad Stewart said, despite still struggling to come to terms with her death, the family are going to celebrate Christmas and remember their daughter.

He said: “We are determined to celebrate Christmas because we are of Christian faith and because we have our faith, we know where Grace is and we take hope and strength from that.”

Stewart says he and wife Lorraine, daughter Dani and son Matthew will take strength from each other.

He added: “We will be spending Christmas day together and will be having a quiet dinner. before spending time with family in Ayr.”

Stewart says the family have so many fond memories of Grace to look back on, especially at this time of year.

He said: “Grace was an angel in the nativity in the New Life Church in Prestwick around six years ago and just recently someone sent me the pictures they had come across from back then.

“It was quite bittersweet to look at those. She was so beautiful as an angel. She will always be our baby girl.

“We want to share Grace’s story and try to show young people that if it can happen to Grace it can happen to anyone.

“Grace was trusting and naive and she made a mistake which unfortunately was the kind of mistake you only get to make once.

“That said, we are trying not to go down the road of regrets and because of our faith we believe she is with her grandparents and is in a safe place and that is comforting.”

Grace was a pupil at Irvine Royal Academy and last week the school held a memorial service in tribute to her which was attended by the family.

Stewart added: “The school held a really moving tribute to her.

“It was very emotional and touching for us to see.

“The school has been very supportive and is planning on building a memorial garden for Grace which we think will be open in the Spring.”