'Be more Barney' - family's tributes to Barnaby Webber as Taunton teen's funeral held

Around 600 people gathered at Taunton Minster to remember Barnaby Webber. Credit: PA

Caring, loving and beautiful young man with a contagious smile and extraordinary personality.

Those are just some of the words used to describe 19-year-old Barnaby Webber at his funeral in Taunton.

Around 600 people gathered at Taunton Minster to remember the Somerset teenager, with the crowd so big it spilled outside of the church itself and onto the streets.

Barnaby was one of three people killed in two knife attacks in Nottingham last month.

Barnaby Webber has been described as a "caring" and "loving" boy.

Barnaby attended Taunton School for 16 years before going on to study history at Nottingham University.

During the 90-minute service, mourners spoke of his love of cricket while he was remembered as a superb friend, brother and son.

His friends from Taunton School joined his teachers from both the school and Nottingham University in paying tribute to him during the service.

This was followed by moving readings from his father David Webber, brother Charlie Webber and mother Emma Webber.

  • 'Be a little bit more Barney' - watch David Webber's tribute to his son

David was the first of the family to address the service, saying: "How do you start a speech like this? The one as a parent you thought you'd never have to make.

"This is a celebration of my beautiful boy's life. Ever since he lit up our world, and then Charlie a few short years later, I have been besotted by them both - or as Emma will tell you, wrapped around their little fingers. But as a father, that's my job.” 

Speaking of how Barnaby went to university last September, he said: "He'd flown higher than I could ever have imagined and was starting the next stage of his journey”.

He added: "I always knew that both boys are caring, loving people. And from what I've learned over the past few weeks, other people agree.”

David went on to share memories of family holidays including a trip to the Grand Canyon and skiing in France. 

He finished: "I'd like everyone to think of how we act in our day-to-day lives and be a little bit more patient, caring with others, maybe be a little bit more Barney."

Barnaby’s younger brother Charlie followed on from their father, sharing funny stories of his brother.

  • Charlie Webber pays tribute to his 'hero' brother

He said: “I want to talk about the role you played in my life, you’re the only reason I have the confidence to stand here today.

"When we were younger, you were always the person I went to. You were like a final piece of what seems like an unsolvable puzzle and you always found a way to make it right.

"You being gone is like trying to finish that puzzle without the most important piece - it just doesn’t seem to work, and I don’t think it ever will."

He spoke of an “unbreakable bond” that they had. Looking over at his brother's coffin, Charlie said “you’ll have to do a lot more than this to break that bond”.

Barnaby Webber with his younger brother Charlie.

He also spoke of the anger he felt over his brother's death, before adding that he has since realised "anger is really pride" and called Barnaby his "hero".

"I want to tell the world that Barney Phillip John Webber was the best thing that ever has and ever will happen to me," he said.

"On 13 June 2023, the world lost its brightest light and heavens gained its brightest star. Goodbye pal, I’ll catch you in the next."

  • 'We remain a family of four' - watch mum's tribute to Barnaby Webber

Following on from her youngest son, Emma praised Charlie for his moving speech, asking “How do you follow that?"

She went on to say: “Grief is the price we pay for love but for me, until I lost, I don’t think I really knew quite how much I loved, and boy did I love that boy - more than words can ever ever convey.

“Now is not the time to convey that pain, it’s far too deep in agony to describe.

"Like Dave and Charlie, there are countless stories I could share with you. I’m so very thankful for each and every one we’ve had.”

Emma said she always took so many family photos, something she’s thankful for now.

She said: “At the moment looking at them is so very painful but my heart knows that I have them and in time I’ll draw great comfort from them.” 

She also paid tribute to the other Nottingham victims - Ian Coates and Grace O’Mally-Kumar. Grace's family were in attendance.

Barnaby Webber, second left, with his father David Webber, mother Emma Webber and brother Charlie Credit: Family handout/PA

Looking to the sky, Emma said: “We’ve been fortunate to spend time with Grace’s family recently and while I’m so desperately sorry I never got to meet her in person I do feel a connection to you Grace.”

Emma revealed TV adventurer Ben Fogle had been in touch to say how he related to Barnaby.

She read a message from him: “It’s not the days in your life that count, but the life in your days” and said it was “heartbreakingly apt” for Barnaby. 

She continued: “Nobody can begin to take our pain away but what I would say is this, if you imagine our world as a clear night sky, it’s seemingly completely black.

"However if you stop for long enough you’ll begin to see very small moments of light like a shooting star or a distant planet.

“I know we have a long and painful road ahead of us and I know I am very scared by it but I am still looking up unto that sky and I do know that one day, I have no idea when, I know that one day the dawn will break for us again.”

The family tributes closed with a minute of applause.

Rt Rev Worsley then led prayers before the choir sang This Is Me from The Greatest Showman soundtrack.

Barnaby's coffin left Taunton Minster as Mr Brightside by The Killers played. The track was described in the order of service as Barnaby's "favourite song" and "as he would say, it's a right banger".