Heartbroken family and friends have gathered to bid a final farewell to Archie Battersbee, the schoolboy at the centre of a life-support court battle this summer.
A High Court judge ruled doctors could stop giving treatment to the schoolboy, 12, who was found unresponsive at his home in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, on April 7.
He suffered ‘irretrievable’ brain damage and never regained consciousness, but his parents argued that his heart was still beating – and insisted their son was ‘still in there’.
Doctors stopped treatment in early August after Archie’s mum, Hollie Dance, and dad, Paul Battersbee, were unsuccessful in their attempts to overturn the ruling by Mr Justice Hayden.
His family confirmed he died in hospital at 12.15pm on August 6 after his life support was withdrawn.
Archie’s funeral took place this afternoon at St Mary’s Church in Prittlewell, Southend, with a service to celebrate his life led by Reverend Paul Mackay.
Ms Dance told the dozens of mourners in attendance that her son was the best little boy ever, he was just perfect’, describing him as ‘very skilled, and very, very energetic.’
A floral arrangement spelling out ‘son’ was placed close to the coffin inside the church, while a wreath was placed on top.
Hip-hop music was played as the funeral began, before a video of Archie singing was shown, according to EssexLive.
A church choir then performed a rendition of Mariah Carey’s ‘One Sweet Day’.
The first reading was a letter from St Paul to the Corinthians, which is said to have sparked an emotional response from the congregation.
A friend told the funeral of Archie’s love of boxing and gymnastics, while his former headteacher described him as having ‘something special’.
The service ended with the song, Amazing Grace, before Archie’s coffin was carried into a horse-drawn carriage, to be transported to a private family burial.
Mr Justice Hayden ruled ending Archie’s life-support treatment would be ‘in his best interests’.
He described what happened to the schoolboy as a ‘tragedy of immeasurable dimensions’ – but said the medical evidence was ‘compelling and unanimous’ and painted a ‘bleak picture’.
But Ms Dance refused to give up the fight for her son’s life.
She previously said: ‘If I don’t explore every avenue and if I don’t fight for his life, then, later on, we realise, actually we didn’t look into that, we’ve missed something, I’m going to spend the rest of my life not knowing and thinking “what if, what if?”‘
Now Ms Dance is preparing to discuss the implications of Archie’s case with a health minister.
She had written to now-former health secretary, Steven Barclay to request a meeting alongside her MP, Anna Firth.
Mr Barclay replied to say a minister would discuss the case – but a date has yet to be fixed.