HUNDREDS of mourners have said farewell to Oscar Hughes, the York schoolboy whose brave fight against cancer sparked a massive fundraising drive.

Tributes were paid at the nine-year-old's packed funeral yesterday to a 'fantastic character,' who possessed great sporting abilities, enthusiasm, dignity and strength.

The service at York Crematorium was followed by a private celebration of Oscar’s life at York Maze, attended by teachers and fellow pupils from his school, Dunnington Primary.

Oscar, who underwent surgery for a brain tumour last year, appeared to be recovering well until he suffered a sudden relapse in March, for which doctors said there was no known cure.

His parents Ian and Marie launched a a campaign on April 23 to raise £150,000 to fund a trip abroad to take part in promising research and clinical trials, which raised more than £60,000 in less than a fortnight, with backing from his favourite football club, Manchester United. However, the aggressiveness of the relapse led to his death on May 3.

Dunnington headteacher Caroline Hancy said yesterday that Oscar had 'touched the hearts of all who knew him.' She said: "He had a fantastic character, led a very active life and always put his heart and soul into everything he did.

"He fought his illness with tremendous bravery and inspired us with his courage and determination to help others, even whilst enduring intense treatment himself."

She added that everyone at the school was immensely proud of Oscar and he would be greatly missed by everyone who had had the privilege of knowing him.

Dunnington Under-9s coach John Bryant said he had been a young player of great talent, will and determination, who had scored 62 goals in 45 games for Dunnington.

David Lloyd health and fitness club's head tennis coach Marius Barnard said he always gave '110 per cent effort,' adding: "Oscar taught me more about life and inspiration than I could teach him about tennis."

Oscar's father Ian said his 'beautiful' son had fought cancer with determination, and his character had carried him through his illness with dignity and strength.

* The Press attended the funeral at the invitation of Oscar's parents.