Hundreds of tearful mourners threw flowers and applauded as a hearse carrying 23-month-old Alfie Evans passed his father’s favourite football club.
Members of the public and “Alfie’s Army” said their goodbyes to the youngster on Monday as his funeral procession passed Everton’s Goodison Park ground ahead of a private burial in Liverpool.
His coffin sported images of toy soldiers and the Everton club motif, while the lead two hearses carried floral wreaths spelling out the words “Warrior”, “Our Hero”, “Son”, “Nephew”, “Grandson” and “Blue”.
People also placed flowers, messages and balloons at the foot of the Dixie Dean statue outside the stadium.
One card read: “Alfie. Sleep well wee man. Fly high with the angels.”
The terminally ill toddler, who was in a semi-vegetative state from a degenerative neurological condition that medics were not able to definitively identify, died in hospital on 28 April.
Doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool stopped providing life-support treatment to the youngster after his parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, lost legal fights in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights.
Mr Evans, who is a supporter of the Premier League club, had spoken of his hopes of taking his son to watch the side in action.
In a post on the Alfie’s Army Facebook page, Alfie’s uncle Daniel Evans said: “The funeral will be private due to family’s wishes, we ask that no one turns up unless you have been personally invited by Thomas and Kate as there’s a limited number of people who are allowed to attend, invitations are currently being sorted out for family and close friends.
“Thank you all for your support.”
Alfie’s parents, from Liverpool, wanted to take their son to Italy where they say doctors were willing to treat the little boy.
But medics at Alder Hey argued it was not in Alfie’s best interests to continue to receive life support or to travel abroad for treatment.
Thousands paid tribute to the youngster on social media during the protracted legal battle, their comments often highly polarised over the courts’ decisions.
Protesters attempted to storm the hospital on one occasion and blocked the road outside during demonstrations against the withdrawal of his life-support treatment.
The hospital said staff had experienced “unprecedented personal abuse” as it found itself at the centre of a “social media storm” as a result of the case.
From – SkyNews