‘Unbearable pain’ for family at funeral of Hartlepool teen who died at Leeds Festival

From left, mum Paula, dad Peter and sister Jenny at the funeral of James Houghton
From left, mum Paula, dad Peter and sister Jenny at the funeral of James Houghton

FOR the devastated mum of tragic James Houghton “the pain of never seeing his face again is unbearable”.

His heartbroken sister, Jenny, told mourners his trip to Leeds Festival was meant to be one of the “best weekends of his life”.

For four days it was exactly that. But on the fifth day he suddenly collapsed and died of a heart attack. He was just 19.

But for his grieving family and friends – the hundreds who turned out at his funeral at the chapel funeral at the chapel at Stranton Cemetery yesterday – it is the “amazing memories” he has given them in those 19 years that will last forever.

The memories as he grew up at Fens Primary School, as he formed his first band in secondary school and years on as he proudly collected his A-level results, just two weeks before he lost his life.

Yesterday his dad, Peter, 54, mum Paula, 49, and Jenny, 25, all bravely addressed the hundreds who came to pay their last respects - and told of their huge pride in “loving, caring and fiercely loyal” James.

Fighting back tears, Peter said: “James, I remember the day you were born as if it was yesterday and the joy you brought us.

“I remember the day I taught you how to ride your bike, and how to swim.

“I remember how you played cricket and football.

“But now I remember the day you died.

“I feel robbed of life itself, you were an amazing son.

“I know you were always there for all of your friends, just like you were for your family.

“James, I love you.”

Mum, Paula, deputy year leader at Manor College of Technology where James was a student, said: “I can’t bear the thought of not being able to fuss over you.

“My pain at the thought of never seeing your face again is unbearable.

“I adored you as a man and boy.”

Enough people to pack out the chapel, the overflow chapel and more paid their final respects to James yesterday.

Tears of devastation and then laughter rolled down the cheeks of his family, school and college friends and fellow members of Red Dreams, as his close pals and relatives told tales of their time with the teenager.

His mum’s story of when he decorated the house in toilet roll brought laughter, as did the tale of the time he first took to the stage in Year 6 to do a rendition of AC/DC’s Back in Black.

Leeds Festival was supposed to be a celebration of James’ college results before he started university at Manchester next month.

But he fell ill and collapsed on the Bramham Park site at around 11.20pm on Sunday, August 25 and was pronounced dead at the scene.

His sister, Jenny, said: “Even though you were my younger brother I always looked up to you in so many ways.

“I can only imagine the greatness you would have achieved.

“I will continue to seek your guidance and support throughout the rest of my life.”

Pastor Volney Ham Ying, who carried out the service, described James as a bubbly, outgoing performer.

He added: “Our final wish for James now is that he rests in peace.”