Olly Stephens funeral – Mourners line the streets for emotional goodbye to boy, 13, stabbed to death
MOURNERS have lined the streets for an emotional goodbye to Olly Stephens today after the teenager was stabbed to death.
Olly was killed just 200 metres from his family home in Reading, Berkshire on January 3.
A 13-year-old girl and boy and a boy, 14, are awaiting a month-long trial after being accused of his murder.
In an emotional reading at the funeral of his autistic son's death, Stuart Stephens told how he was "secretly hoping Oliver would join the police force" and stated that Olly’s gift was the "power of love."
Hundreds of grieving classmates descended on the road leading to Reading Crematorium, wearing Olly’s favourite colour, red.
Many were holding a single red rose which they threw onto the hearse carrying Olly's coffin as it drove past.
The mum of Olly’s best friend, teary-eyed Shelley Hosgood, said: "My son and Olly were best friends and we are close friends with the family. I have been organising the Facebook posts for the Justice for Olly campaign.
“We are hear today to remember Olly. He was friends with a few of our sons, who are all here today.
"Everybody is here in red today as it was Olly's favourite colour. It actually makes you feel proud to be a part of the community."
A hearse carried Olly's body in a coffin emblazoned with the images of Skittles sweets.
Decorations shaped into a can of Coca-Cola, a hamburger and a rainbow, were also placed on top of the coffin surrounded by flowers which read “Love you Olly".
Mourners had travelled far and wide for the 13-year-old's funeral.
Olly was stabbed to death in Bugs Bottom field in Emmer Green, a suburb of Reading on January 3.
The student was left fighting for his life before a "Good Samaritan" and an off-duty doctor passing by desperately tried to revive him.
Despite paramedic teams flying in to save the boy, he tragically lost his fight for life and was declared dead.
The spot was just yards from the home he shared with parents Amanda and Stuart, and older sister Emilia.
Also attending the funeral were people who did not know the family but wanted to pay their respects following the tragedy.
Wearing a red shirt covered in poppies, a red jacket and red scarf holding a rose, Kevin said: “We didn’t know Olly or the family but we’ve just come to pay our respects.
“We have children who have grown up but we are from the local area. In such a tragic set of circumstances people have really pulled through – a community spirit.”
Policewomen on horseback strode down the street into the crematorium before the hearse carrying the body drove down the road.
In the tribute he titled "Our boy Oliver," the boy's heartbroken father explained that Olly’s death was every parent's worst nightmare but the family was blessed to have shared time with their "enigma."
He said: "Olly left the house with a spring in his step, laughter in his heart and a 'love you' to Mum. We will remember him this way. What happened next was the stuff of nightmares, a knock on the door shattered our lives with the force of a baby rhino.
"No-one should have to receive news like this or deal with a situation as horrific. But we are blessed, the time we shared with Oliver is our most precious gift.
"Olly was our enigma, a square peg in a round hole, a puzzle to be solved, a teenager.
"We loved, nurtured, and cherished him. We never gave up. Olly and I would have snippets of conversation about music, culture, travel, and his future.
"With his autism, I was often left wondering if any of it had sunk in. I shouldn’t have worried. The response from the school, his friends and community has proved he did take it in, but in his own way.
"We used to talk about his autistic “superpower” as we called it. Would he be a techno whiz, a musician, artist, or mathematical prodigy? Turns out his gift was the power of love. All of you here are testimony to this, we have all come for Olly."
Stuart Stephens said he wanted his son remembered as a "loving, caring, funny soul who would stick up for the underdog, who would never back down from injustice, prejudice, inequality or cruelty".
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