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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Chiara Giordano

Archie Battersbee funeral: Hundreds of mourners attend service as 12-year-old boy laid to rest


Hundreds of mourners gathered to pay their respects to schoolboy Archie Battersbee, who died following a legal battle over his life support treatment.

The 12-year-old’s parents fought to keep him alive after he was found unconscious at his home in Essex but he died on 6 August after his life support was withdrawn.

Family and friends packed out St Mary’s Church in Prittlewell, Southend-on-Sea, as they came together for the youngster’s funeral service on Tuesday.

Mourners who attended wore black with flashes of purple, at the request of Archie’s family, while his silver coffin arrived in a hearse drawn by four black horses with purple headwear.

Flowers arranged on top of the hearse read “son”, with others reading “Archie’s army”.

Mourners carry Archie Battersbee’s coffin on their shoulders (PA)

Church bells tolled as the coffin was carried inside, with the song Hypnotize by American rapper the Notorious B.I.G playing over speakers inside the church as people filed into pews.

Paul Mackay, the vicar of St Mary’s, said there would be an eclectic mixture of music and prayer to celebrate Archie’s life.

An order of service showed the youngster sporting medals and a picture of a pair of boxing gloves.

During the service, a video of Archie singing One Call Away by Charlie Puth was played, before a choir performed a rendition of the song.

Archie’s mother Hollie Dance speaking during the funeral for her son (PA)

Archie’s mother tearfully addressed the congregation before someone shouted “we love you Hollie, we’re so proud of you” and the crowd broke into spontaneous applause.

Ms Dance, speaking from the front of the church, told those gathered: “He was just such a beautiful little boy and just he made the most of absolutely everything that he done.

“He lived a very fulfilled and happy life. He was very, very energetic.”

“He was the best little boy ever, just perfect.”

The song Someone You Loved by pop star Lewis Capaldi was played over speakers, and there was poetry, hymns, a bible reading and a video montage of photographs and film of Archie, including some of him doing somersaults.

The family said, in the order of service, that donations to the Tafida Raqeeb Foundation would be gratefully received.

The foundation aims to improve the quality of life of children who suffer from a neurological condition and “be their vocal advocates”.

Bells tolled again as Archie’s coffin was carried from the church and led away in the horse-drawn hearse.

The youngster’s family have been supported by a campaign group called the Christian Legal Centre.

The service was a celebration of Archie’s life (PA)

During the legal hearings before his death in August judges were told Archie’s mother found him unconscious with a ligature over his head on 7 April.

The schoolboy suffered a brain injury during the incident, which Ms Dance believes may have been linked to an online challenge, and never regained consciousness.

The family took their fight to keep him on life support to the Supreme Court, the High Court, the UN and the European Court of Human Rights, but on August 6 it was announced he had passed away.

Archie with his mother Ms Dance (Family handout/PA)

His mother previously described the months since her son’s injury as an “emotional rollercoaster”.

Speaking in the days before his death, Ms Dance said: “I don’t think any other parent should have to go through this.

“I’ve said from day one I totally understand and respect that some parents out there might choose to do things differently, and I as a person totally respect other people’s decisions and other people’s views.

“However, this is ours and I know Archie‘s there and because of obviously everything that I’ve got evidence-wise and sort of backed up, and things that I’m seeing – Archie progressing on a daily basis – that is why I’ve continued to fight so hard.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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