Archie Battersbee funeral: Hundreds gather in Southend in Essex as 12-year-old laid to rest

  • ITV News Anglia's Charlie Frost reports on an emotional day

The life of Archie Battersbee has been celebrated at a funeral service featuring videos of him singing and performing gymnastics.

Archie's body arrived at St Mary's Church in Prittlewell in Southend in a horse-drawn carriage shortly before the midday service, with mourners dressed in flashes of purple in memory of the 12-year-old.

The four black horses too were dressed with plumes of purple feathers - a nod to the colour that Archie's friends, family and supporters adopted throughout their fight for his life.

Bells tolled as his silver coffin was carried into the church for the service, followed by a line of mourners - most dressed in black, with accessories of purple - led by Archie's mother Hollie Dance.

Archie's older brother Tom and father Paul Battersbee led the pallbearers.

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

Mourners gathered in St Mary's Church in Prittlewell, Southend. Credit: PA

The song Hypnotize by American rapper the Notorious B.I.G playing over speakers inside the church as people filed into pews.

During the service, mourners sang the hymns In Christ Alone and The Lord's My Shepherd, before memories of Archie were shared by friends from his gymnastics club, and his former primary school headteacher.

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

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

Archie's mother Hollie Dance spoke at the funeral, telling the congregation: "I love him so much." Credit: 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 said, from the front of the church: “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.”

She continued: “He was the best little boy ever, just perfect.

“There was a few little challenges along the way but he was just moulding into such a perfect little man.

“I love him so much.”

The order of service at the funeral of Archie Battersbee. Credit: PA

Verity Adams from South Essex Gymnastics Club shared her memories of meeting Archie for the first time, as a toddler with " gorgeous eyes and bright blond hair". She said he had "the cheekiest smile I have ever seen" and that it was clear to see he was "made for gymnastics".

She said he "always had a smile on his face" and had shown "all of the courage, bravery and determination that he had shown in the past few months".

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 four black horses drawing the hearse wore purple feather plumes in honour of Archie. Credit: PA

As people filed out of the church, Lucid Dreams by Juice WRLD was played.

The family said, in an order of service for the funeral, 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”.

Archie died in hospital on 6 August, after a months-long court battle over his life-support treatment. He had not regained consciousness after being found unconscious at home on 7 April.

A high court judge ruled that doctors could lawfully stop providing life-support treatment to the youngster in July. Doctors stopped treatment in early August after Archie's mother, Hollie Dance, and father, Paul Battersbee, failed in bids to overturn Mr Justice Hayden's ruling.

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.

Bosses at Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, asked a High Court judge to make decisions on what medical moves were in Archie's best interests.

Archie died in hospital on 6 August. Credit: Family photo

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