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Nottingham Post
Nottingham Post
Steven Smith & Joseph Locker

Tom Parker funeral: Nottinghamshire band mate carries The Wanted singer's coffin as tributes pour in

Tributes to The Wanted singer Tom Parker have been pouring in as the 33-year-old was laid to rest having died from an inoperable brain tumour. His band mates, including Nottinghamshire's own Jay McGuiness, carried his coffin to his final resting place at Saint Francis of Assisi Parish Church in south-east London.

Tom had been one of five members of popular boyband The Wanted. He died on Wednesday, March 30, having announced in October 2020 that he had been diagnosed with an inoperable grade 4 tumour.

He had only just performed at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham on March 11 as part of The Wanted's Greatest Hits tour and it took place for the band's highly-anticipated reunion. Tom's widow Kelsey Hardwick invited fans to line the route as his close family and friends headed to the church in Queensway, Petts Wood, in south-east London, on Wednesday morning (April 20).

Read more: Vigil held for Tom Parker in Nottingham

Fans could watch the service outside on big screens and Kelsey has also created a GoFundMe page to "keep Tom's memory alive forever" via donations to charitable causes, instead of sending flowers and cards. HullLive reports the page exceeded its £5,000 target within the first 12 hours and so far has received more than £54,000 in donations.

The funeral came after fans held a vigil for the singer at 6pm on April 3 outside Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena. The band had many admirers from Nottinghamshire, with Tom's bandmate Jay McGuiness having grown up in Newark. He had attending the All Saints RC school in Mansfield as a boy.

A tearful Jay helped carry Tom's coffin at the funeral as countless fans lined the streets to pay tribute to the treasured band member, father, husband and friend to many. In a tribute to his friend, Jay said: "Tom, I miss you so much. I don’t know where you are now, but I am so honoured we got to spend time together on earth. An honour.

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“Life is a gift and you made use of yours in the most powerful ways, you made your dreams come true, you found the love of your life, you brought two beautiful humans down to earth, you sang so so powerfully and beautifully and that will never die."

The singer's diagnosis of an inoperable brain tumour happened while his wife was pregnant with their second child, with Tom leaving behind his wife Kelsey and their two young children. The couple married in 2018 and had a daughter, Aurelia Rose, in 2019 and their son, Bodhi, in October last year. Tom disclosed in October 2020 that he had been diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma and had begun radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Jay McGuiness of The Wanted carries the coffin at the funeral of his bandmate Tom Parker at St Francis of Assisi church in Queensway, Petts Wood, in south-east London, following his death at the age of 33 last month, 17 months after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour (PA)

Fans lining the streets in the run up to the church spoke out about his death, with many having lost loved ones themselves. Kevin George and Susan Potter, from Orpington, whose eldest son Daniel died in 2018 aged 22 from an astrocytoma Grade 3 brain tumour, were among those waiting outside the church ahead of the funeral.

Asked whether Tom's campaigning for brain tumour research in his final months had affected her, Ms Potter, who was carrying a framed picture of her son, said: "Of course it did, especially the BBC One interview that they did and the way he dealt with it. It was exactly how my son dealt with it - exactly.

"In fact, at his funeral we played Bon Jovi, It's My Life, because that kind of (message) - it's my life, I am going to live it now, I am going to live it today." Mr George added: "It's good. It is raising the profile as well. He has raised a lot of money for research, which is what it needs.

A lot of other cancers have almost been eradicated. They need to have more research into brain tumours." Ahead of the cortege, receptionist Chloe Mayne, 25 from Plumstead and a self-professed "super-fan" of the late singer, told the PA news agency: "It was amazing seeing him (perform live).

It's horrible that I saw him at the O2 and then two weeks later he died. "The day he died it really hit me.

To be fair I don't think anyone was expecting it that quickly, I thought he'd have at least another Christmas and maybe next year."

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