A BRAVE youngster stood up in front of hundreds of mourners to pay tribute to his dad when he said: “All the years we had together I will treasure all my life”.
Lewis Bradley, aged 12, read a heartfelt poem he had written to put his feelings for dad Richard Bradley into words following his death aged 32.
Supported by Richard’s wife Sarah, Lewis read the poem to a packed congregation inside St Aidan’s Church at Richard’s funeral yesterday.
His life changed forever in 2007 when he almost died after a terrible accident while was working as a cable puller which left him in a wheelchair.
Richard, known affectionately as Dicky, tragically died at home in Naisberry Park, Hartlepool, last Tuesday.
Reading his poem Lewis said: “All the years we had together I will treasure all my life.
“Seeing you suffer made me really sad.
“Things people take for granted you found so hard every day.
“But I hope you always knew dad I would be there for you.”
He ended to applause by saying: “I love you forever dad.”
Richard was described as a loving dad to Lewis. The pair enjoyed bike rides, riding quad bikes and going to the horses together.
There was standing room only inside the church in Oxford Street.
Father Leon Rogers, who led the service, said it was proof of just how many people’s lives Richard had touched.
“He is much loved and will be much missed,” he said.
Richard’s coffin was taken to church on a horse-drawn carriage.
One of his coffin bearers was Richie Docherty, of Hartlepool band The Jar Family.
Over the last year Richard had become one of the group’s biggest fans and became good friends with the group, travelling all over the country with them to gigs.
Richie, who sang a moving song, said: “I’m so grateful I got the chance to spend the last year with him.”
Touching and funny stories from Richard’s life were related in the eulogy from him working as a child to buy sweets he later sold for a profit at school, to him and his family getting into Flamingo Land for free because of his disability.
He married wife Sarah who he met in the Cotton Club in St Aidan’s Church.
They had a 14-year loving relationship, Fr Leon said.
Richard also leaves behind devoted parents Terry and Lesley and sisters Kelly and Terri.
Fr Leon said even after the accident Richard showed incredible strength to live life to the fullest.
He enjoyed playing snooker, pool, poker and supported numerous charities including cancer race Miles for Men and the spinal unit at James Cook Hospital which cared for him.
The collection from his funeral service will be split between the church and Miles for Men.
After the church service the celebration of Richard’s life continued in The Corporation Club, in Whitby Street.