“SLEEP tight, little angel, there’s a whole world up there for you to explore.”
Those were the words of Callum Smith’s heartbroken parents at the poignant but colourful funeral service to celebrate his life.
The courageous three-year-old passed away on February 1, after fighting against a string of conditions including epilepsy, dystonia and hypertonia.
Callum was taken to the hearts of the people of Hartlepool when the Mail launched the Callum’s Dream appeal, in conjunction with town charity Epilepsy Outlook, in the summer of 2013.
Readers were urged to help raise £5,000 so Callum could have a sensory room at his home - but the target was exceeded with a massive £14,000 being raised.
The service was held at St Patrick’s Church, in Owton Manor Lane, Hartlepool, at 10.45am yesterday, and was attended by about 200 mourners wearing brightly coloured clothes, with many struggling to hold back tears.
Brave Callum’s tiny coffin, which was adorned with his favourite cartoon characters including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Buzz Lightyear and the Minions, arrived on a white carriage drawn by two majestic white horses.
He was met at the church by silent well-wishers and members of the public who had gathered outside, and also by the two most important people in his life – his devastated but proud mum and dad, Zoe Neesam, 21, and Luke Smith, 24.
Callum was carried into the church, where he celebrated his baptism just in October last year, by pall bearers followed by his parents, relatives, and friends, to You’ve Got A Friend In Me from the children’s film, Toy Story.
Parish priest Father Adrian Tuckwell conducted the moving and emotional service, which started with him saying: “The angels are now Callum’s playmates and his friends,” and “our sympathies go out to Zoe and Luke who have spent the last three years lavishing love on Callum.”
Father Tuckwell then read touching tributes from Callum’s grandparents and relatives, who all mentioned the youngster’s incredibly infectious smile despite his battles with his health.
But tears flowed as the clergyman read the words of Zoe and Luke.
“Our beautiful baby boy, our amazing, brave, clever, smiling baby boy,” read Father Tuckwell. “You fought from the very second you were born and we remember it like yesterday.”
The eulogy went onto describe Callum’s battle to start breathing as a newborn, before detailing the first weeks of his life, and then his “cheeky” nature, and how he would giggle while playing with his doting dad.
“We are so lucky to have had you in our lives for all of three years, three months and 20 days,” read the clergyman.
“You have changed our lives so much and we can’t thank you enough for sharing your life with us.
“Your smile will be with us everywhere we are going, in the rain, in the snow, in the sun. It will be always with us.
“Sleep tight little angel there’s a whole world up there for you to explore.
“Fly high with Peter Pan and remember it’s the second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning.”
Ed Sheeran’s hit Thinking Out Loud was then played, before Callum was carried back out of the church to You Can Fly, from Peter Pan.