“All the joy we ever needed was captured in her smile.”

Those were the emotional words of Robert Downes, the father of missing teenager Charlene Downes, at a memorial service for his daughter.

Police launched a murder investigation but nobody has ever been convicted and Charlene, who was 14 at the time of her disappearance in November 2003, has never been found.

The family, friends and neighbours of the teenager organised the service at St John’s Church in Blackpool town centre today.

Her mother Karen said that the location was poignant because the church was the teenager’s favourite building in the resort.

Her parents have said they are now slowly accepting that she is dead and the service would help all those who knew Charlene to celebrate her life and enable to look forward with hope.

The service, led by reverend Helen Hornby, opened with music by some of Charlene’s favourite artists, including P Diddy.

Tributes and poems were then read by several members of the family and friends, including father Robert and sister Rebecca.

She said: “We hope you are in a place which takes away all anxiety and fear. Charlene will always be in our thoughts and remain an angel in our hearts.”

Her cousin Lee Brown said that he and Charlene had spent many happy times together and her support had helped him overcome difficulties in his life.

Reverend Hornby said: “The best memorial to Charlene will not be in marble or stone but in the smile and sunny nature that so many of her family, friends and neighbours have described so well.”

She added that Charlene was a huge Darren Day fan and had met him many times during his summer season in Blackpool in 2003.

The entertainer could not make the service due to work commitments but sent a message of support to the family.

After the service four white doves were released by the family in front of the church.

Speaking after the service, Charlene’s sister Rebecca summed up the feelings of all those close to her.

She said: “This gave us all the chance to gather together and celebrate her short life.

“I’m almost speechless with emotion at how loved she was and how many people she touched.”

Fundraising is also ongoing for a commemorative bench for Charlene in the town's Stanley Park, another of her favourite places.