A mother wept as she read a poem during the funeral of her two-year-old son who was killed in an explosion which flattened their Greater Manchester home. Jamie Heaton was watching television when the blast tore through several houses in Shaw, Oldham, on June 26.
His parents Michelle and Kenny led around 400 mourners into the funeral at nearby St James Church as hundreds more people listened to the service on loudspeakers outside. Jamie's body was carried into the church in a small white coffin with polka dots in red, orange, purple and green. Male mourners, including Mr Heaton, 36, wore ties in the same design - inspired by the little boy's favourite children's TV star, Mr Tumble. Flowers in red and orange spelled out "Jamie" and "Little Man".
As the funeral began, the theme to Thomas The Tank Engine And Friends was played. The Rev Lynne Connolly, who led the service, said Jamie's family had appreciated the support shown by the local community since "that horrible day". "The tragic death of Jamie has devastated us all," she said.
After the hymn Amazing Grace was sung, the toddler's mother Michelle, 31, stepped to the altar and sobbed as she read out the poem Footprints. The poem ended: "My precious, precious child I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."
Mrs Heaton, who works for Boots, miraculously survived the blast which killed her son after stepping out to hang out washing in the yard. The Heatons' neighbour, Andrew Partington, 27, suffered serious burns and remains in a serious condition at Wythenshawe hospital's burns unit.