“HE was happy, full of life, cheeky, funny, and smiled throughout his whole life.”
That was the tribute paid to brave Jamie Inglis by his godfather, Tom Hardy, at a moving funeral service.
Hundreds of people, many wearing bright clothes, yesterday packed York Minster to celebrate the life of seven-year-old Jamie, who died following a four-year battle against the rare childhood cancer neuroblastoma.
The many tributes to Jamie described him as a cheeky, mischievous, sociable little boy who coped with his illness with a smile and an acceptance “beyond his years”.
His coffin, which had been decorated with Power Rangers, was carried in a horsedrawn carriage procession, past Jamie’s school, Lord Deramore’s in Heslington, to the Minster.
In a moving address, Jamie’s mum Vicky said: “It broke our hearts to lose you, but you did not go alone. A part of us went with you, with the angels that took you home.
“Jamie you suffered much in silence, your spirit did not bend.
“You tried so hard to stay with us, your fight was not in vain. The angels took you home and freed you from your pain. We love you.”
Mr Hardy spoke about a film Jamie liked, Monsters Inc, and said that Jamie’s monsters had been his “angry cells”.
However, he said, the remarkable love and support Jamie received from his parents allowed him to fight his illness with bravery.
Mr Hardy said he had “never been more proud” of Jamie than when he was named The Press Community Pride Child of the Year.
He said: “So, Jamie Inglis – a star? A happy child. An inspiration to thousands? A boy of a thousand smiles? The pride of York? He is all of the above.
“Jamie, you are the bravest and most powerful Spiderman and red Power Ranger combined.
“You are our neuroblastoma warrior and the most beautiful and happy child ever to grace our lives and you will remain with us forever more.”
Sheena Powley, Jamie’s head teacher, raised smiles among the congregation when she spoke of Jamie’s infectious sense of humour.
She told of one occasion when he and a friend mischievously filled the shoes of two older boys with mud, before hiding.
On another occasion, she recalled how Jamie’s hair had grown back soft and “snowy white” following his chemotherapy but said how Jamie used fruit juice to dye it at break times – once turning it purple with blueberries, giving the impression of a blue rinse.
Mrs Powley said: “Jamie, you have left an indelible print on all of us at Lord Deramore’s. Your exuberance and fun will stay with us forever, as will your everlasting smile.”
Jamie’s coffin was carried from the service to the song Just The Way You Are, by Bruno Mars.
Following the service, Jamie’s parents Vicky and John, his three-year-old sister Poppy and a number of his young cousins helped release doves in the gardens outside the Minster.
The family attended a private burial in Stillingfleet.
Later in the afternoon, Jamie’s school friends released 300 yellow balloons in his honour.
• The Press attended the funeral at the invitation of Jamie’s family.
Family determined that fundraising will continue
JAMIE was first diagnosed with the childhood cancer neuroblastoma when he was three.
In the US, he underwent pioneering treatment unavailable on the NHS, for which the people of York, North Yorkshire and around the world helped raise £350,000.
The treatment was a success and Jamie was able to live a healthy normal life and to go to school, but the family suffered a devastating setback last year when a tumour that caused paralysis was found on his spine.
Again, the family said they were overwhemed by the kindness of fundraisers, and were able to get a place on a pioneering scheme costing £250,000 in Germany.
The treatment – which has so far proved highly successful with a number of patients – initially worked well and Jamie was officially declared clear of cancer. However, due to his low immune system, he suffered an infection. He died with his parents by his side on January 15.
Jamie’s parents have thanked people for their “amazing support” and have said they want to continue to raise money for the Neuroblastoma Alliance to help save the life of other children with the illness – including Jamie’s friends Ryan Edwards and Robyn Higgins.
To donate in Jamie’s memory, visit justgiving.com/in-memory-of-jamie-inglis.