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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Kelly-Ann Mills

Archie Battersbee's family say final goodbye at funeral in 'packed' church

Relatives and friends gathered to say their final goodbyes to 12-year-old Archie Battersbee who was at the centre of a fight to keep him on life support.

The youngster's funeral is taking place at St Mary’s Church, Prittlewell in Southend-on-Sea with his mum Hollie Dance and dad Paul Battersbee leading the mourners.

Archie was carried into the church in a silver coffin with a wreath of flowers on top and was followed inside by scores of mourners, many of whom were wearing splashes of the colour purple.

The colour had been used by Archie's Army, a support group backing his mum in her fight to keep her son alive.

The church is "packed to the rafters" with those wanting to remember the youngster, with people sharing orders of service as there are not enough to go around.

The Order of Service (PA)
The funeral has started in Essex (Phil Harris / Daily Mirror)

Ms Dance found her son Archie unconscious at their home on April 7 and he remained on life support for four months, until judges sided with the NHS and agreed to withdraw his care.

His death was confirmed on Saturday, August 6.

Describing her final moments with her son, Ms Dance said: "The morning Archie died, I told him how much I loved him.

“At midday they took his pipe out. It took 15 minutes for his heart to stop. There was nothing ‘dignified’ about his death.

The church is packed with mourners (PA)
Archie's mum follows the coffin into the church (PA)

"It was heartbreaking, watching your child suffocate. That image will never, ever leave me.”

A judge based in the Family Division of the High Court in London ruled in July that doctors could lawfully stop providing life-support treatment to the youngster.

Judges heard that Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7 which caused brain damage.

Ms Dance believes Archie had been taking part in an online challenge.

The church is packed with mourners (PA)
The service in Essex (PA)

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, thought he was brain-stem dead and said continued life support treatment was not in his best interests.

A High Court judge, Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, initially considered the case and concluded that Archie was dead.

But Court of Appeal judges upheld a challenge by his parents against decisions taken by Mrs Justice Arbuthnot and said the evidence should be reviewed by a different High Court judge, Mr Justice Hayden.

He ruled after a further hearing that ending treatment would be in Archie's best interests.

Archie's mum took his case to court (PA)
Archie and his mum Hollie (PA)

Archie's mum has since called for a public inquiry into her son's case.

She said that while Archie's story has had a lot of publicity, many similar cases in the High Court's Family division don't due to reporting restrictions and kept away from public scrutiny.

"There should be a comprehensive public inquiry into the operation of this system; and then a change of the law to protect the grieving families from cruelty," she added.

The service is taking place in Essex (PA)
Archie Battersbee in hospital (PA)

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