Christian Chandler: Crowds pay final respects at 13-year-old Telford schoolboy's funeral
Family, friends and well-wishers who wanted to pay their respects turned out for the funeral of 13-year-old Telford schoolboy Christian Chandler.
It was a chance to say goodbye to a "really special" young man who died after being hit by a bus on his way to school along Haybridge Road in Hadley, Telford.
More than 100 people turned out at Christ Church, in New Church Road, Wellington, on Tuesday to say their final goodbye to the former Ercall Wood Technology College pupil, including his schoolmates.
A horse and carriage carried Christian to the church, led by a hearse full of flowers.
Reverend Alastair Wood, who led the service, said that Christian's death was "a complete tragedy".
"It's an appalling travesty," he said. "I think the families' grief has been helped by the huge amount of love and support that has come from all over the world.
"It isn't the way you want to find out that society still cares, but it's a wonderful expression of love, and I know it's supported the family and will continue to do so."
In the weeks since his death on October 16, people from across Shropshire and beyond have raised thousands of pounds in Christian's name, both to help pay for his funeral and to support his family.
A crowd stood in the rain outside the church as the horse and carriage carrying Christian passed up the drive.
Entering to Truly Madly Deeply by Savage Garden, the service also include poetry and words written by Christian's family.
Reverend Alastair Wood, who led the service, said Christian had been a "warm, caring individual".
"To me it seems like he was keen to be with the people who loved," he said.
"He was a young man of great compassion. He showed a lot of leadership qualities.
"Having spent time with the family, I've been able to come to get Christian a little bit as a very fun-loving, warm caring individual.
"When we think of young people today, we attribute to them qualities of 'don't really care less' and 'don't look out for people', but I think the story that impressed me most about Christian is that on his way home from school, he saw an elderly lady struggling with her shopping.
"He carried her shopping for her, and I think that speaks volumes about his compassion. The fact he took responsibility to help someone in distress.
"That's the feeling that's come over to me talking to the family. In spite of being a healthy young person who no doubt enjoyed life in many ways, he had this real care for others.
"Christian's death is a complete tragedy and it shouldn't have happened. No parent wants to say goodbye to their child. How can you possibly know what that feels like?"
The family invited members of the public to the service, adding that they felt it was the least they could do following the mountains of support they'd received.
After the funeral at Christ Church, the family travelled to Telford Crematorium for a private service.
Christian's mother and stepfather Aimee and Carl, as well as their family, said they wanted to thank everybody for their kindness and sympathy during the time since Christian's death.
In the time since Christian's death, £12,013 has been collected in his name.
It has been used to pay for his funeral and to help support the family, as well as £1,000 given to Midlands Air Ambulance.
A "Cruise for Christian" event organised by car club Defined Ridez saw nearly 200 vehicles drive through the streets of Telford in his memory.
Cars, bikes and even lorries came out for the event, which raised more than £900 towards the fundraising total.
Donations are also being accepted in Christian's name to the air ambulance and to The Association of Blood Bikes.
Christian was cycling to school along Haybridge Road, Hadley, just after 8am on October 16 when the incident happened.
The bus was travelling from Wellington towards the direction of Trench Lock when the collision happened. The Midland Air Ambulance that attended the incident landed on the playing field at Hadley Learning Community in nearby Waterloo Road.
Witnesses to the collision should call West Mercia Police on 101, quoting incident 99s of October 16.
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