Grieving father 'profoundly grateful' to King for permission to bury son in ancient graveyard

  • ITV News Meridian's John Ryall spoke to William's father after their wish was granted by King Charles

The father of a young boy killed on a road while fetching his football says he is "profoundly grateful" to the King for granting permission for his son to be buried in an ancient graveyard.

William Brown, 7, was trying to get his football on Wednesday 6 December on the A259 Sandgate Esplanade in Kent when he was knocked down and killed.

His mother, Laura Brown, drove to Sandringham on Christmas Day to petition King Charles, asking for her son to be laid to rest close to an area which was his favourite place to play.

His Majesty's authority was needed to reopen the churchyard in Folkestone for the burial as it had been closed for 200 years because it was full.

The King was said to be "moved by the family's story". Credit: PA

A spokesperson for the King said he was "moved by the family’s story". An emergency privy council was convened, and consent was given.

William Brown, William's father, said: "We're all amazingly thankful and we feel honoured, the whole family feels honoured, that the King mentioned William and he thought about his case and as a huge team effort, everyone involved who got that through, we're just so honoured and it's really brought us a lift in quite a dark time for us all."

William will now be laid to rest by a conker tree in the churchyard at St Eanswythe’s Church of England school, which was the school he attended. It will mark the first burial at the site for 169 years.

William added: "Will accepted everyone. If you were walking through the graveyard and he saw you, he'd interact with you and that's the sort of boy he was. He'd want everyone there and he hated to see anyone left out.

"We're so grateful to the whole community who has got behind us and we really want to, on behalf of William, invite the whole community to come along, show an act of togetherness and unity in the town and lay William to peace."

Laura Brown travelled to Sandringham on Christmas Day with a personal letter for the King. Credit: Laura Brown

The funeral will take place on Saturday 13 January.

A spokesperson for the Privy Council commented: "We are pleased that His Majesty The King, on the advice of his Privy Council, has granted permission in order to support the family in these tragic circumstances.

"The Brown family and the local community in Folkestone are in our thoughts at this difficult time."

A 49-year-old man was arrested in Dymchurch and was questioned on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, causing death by careless driving, failing to stop at the scene of a collision and perverting the course of justice.

He is on bail until March 6.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...