Hundreds attend ‘beautiful send-off’ for boy, seven, killed in Folkestone crash

The funeral of William Brown took place in Folkestone after a suspected hit-and-run. Credit: Family handout.

Hundreds of people attended the funeral of a seven-year-old boy killed outside his home in a suspected hit-and-run.

Before the service, his mother had said William Brown's ceremony would be a “beautiful send-off”.

Laura Brown said: "Words cannot express the unimaginable grief we feel as a family and the debilitating lives we now need to endure without his joyous presence."

William was buried in the graveyard of St Mary and St Eanswythe Church, Folkestone, after his family campaigned for him to be buried in the historic churchyard which had been closed for burials since 1857.

King Charles granted the family’s wish, and William was buried under the chestnut tree in the church grounds.

The pupil of St Eanswythe’s Church of England Primary School, next to the church, had written in his 2021 school yearbook: “I feel peaceful when I am sat under the chestnut tree.”

Mourners outside watched the service as it was live-streamed on a big screen, and were seen holding flowers, praying and crying.

William died after a crash at around 5.35pm on Wednesday, December 6, on the A259 Sandgate Esplanade.

Two vehicles – a grey Peugeot van and a red Citroen car – were involved and the van left the scene before the emergency services arrived.

William was pronounced dead at the scene after he was hit while trying to collect his football, according to his father, William Brown Sr.

Nearly 1,000 people donated to a GoFundMe page set up by the family after his death to help with funeral costs.

Remaining funds are to be donated to St Mary and St Eanswythe Church to go towards a new heating system.

William Brown, who was 7, died in a crash in Folkestone. Credit: Family handout.

On the GoFundMe page, William’s mother, Laura Brown, said: "We have organised a beautiful send-off for our son.

"We are going to donate the entirety of the funds accumulated through your wonderful generosity to St Eanswythe’s Church who are in desperate need for a new heating system which costs £35,000.

"Our son William exuded nothing but warmth and kindness.

"In his memory we would love nothing more than to replace the heating system in his honour."

Ms Brown drove up to Sandringham on Christmas Day with her petition to deliver to the King, who granted special permission for William to be laid to rest in the churchyard that was "so dear to his heart."

Ms Brown added: "He was a child of God and he spent nearly every day after school in that graveyard. He would spend his time collecting conkers, foraging for wild garlic or generally digging, something that he loved."

The parish church of St Mary & St Eanswythe, in Folkestone Credit: Alamy/PA

Two white horses carried William’s coffin draped in a Manchester United flag to the church, with a Manchester United football and trophy among the items accompanying him.

William’s father and others carried the coffin into the church, led by the Bishop of Dover and joined by family.

A 49-year-old man was arrested in Dymchurch on December 7 on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, causing death by careless driving, failing to stop at the scene of the crash and perverting the course of justice.

He was later released on bail until March 6 as officers continue their investigations.

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