AS Kieran Knight’s coffin was brought down the aisle at Emmanuel Church in Swadlincote, the Song of Freedom, from Doctor Who, rang out into the eaves.
Moments before, two sets of flowers shaped as the Tardis and a dalek had been brought into the Church Street building, ahead of the Reverend Graham Rutter, sporting a knitted Tardis on his stole. The 16-year-old had been a big fan of the sci-fi show, and those close to him wanted to do what they could to recognise that at the end of his short life.
There was standing room only at the church when Kieran made his final journey yesterday, as hundreds of people turned out to pay tribute to the tragic teen, who drowned while swimming in the sea with his dad on a family holiday.
“My comfort is that he was literally enjoying himself until the last. In the fullness of life – that is how I will always remember my precious child,” his mum Dawn told those gathered.
She spoke of how the last time she saw her son, he had been running up the beach at Messanges to grab his goggles, before racing back to join his dad in the water. Minutes later he was swept away by a violent undertow, just as his dad suggested they returned the short distance to the shore.
“He was our very precious gift, loaned to us for 16 and a half years and gone from us in a moment,” she said.
Kieran was a keen churchgoer, and some of his favourite hymns were sung during the service.
As mourners bowed their heads in prayer and reflection, pictures of the former William Allitt School student flashed up on a screen at the front of the church.
All of his family – mum Dawn, dad Kevin, brother Aidan and sister Tara – spoke of Kieran’s unique way of viewing the world, recounting stories from his childhood and talking about his kind, gentle and good nature.
Quoting from Doctor Who, the Rev Rutter said: “Life is like a pile of good things and a pile of bad things. The good may not outweigh the bad, but the bad does not take away from the good. The important thing is to add things to the good pile, and Kieran did that.”
He told the congregation that a memorial to the teenager, of Fairfield Crecent Newhall, had been filled with cards and messages since it was set up following Kieran’s death. Some of the cards were put there by youngsters from the Sunday School which he used to help out with.
As Kieran left the church he had grown up with for the last time, the 11th Doctor’s Theme played – a fitting end to the memorial of this young man’s life.