'Cheeky, funny and caring': Benjamin Catchpole remembered as his friends line the streets for funeral
Popular Hartlepool teenager Benjamin Catchpole was remembered as a cheeky, funny and caring lad as he was laid to rest.
Benjamin, known as Benji, tragically died aged just 15 after he was found in a wooded area near Clavering on the evening of Sunday, May 24.
Many of his friends turned out to line the streets for his funeral on Friday, June 5, as the hearse made its way from his home in the Oxford Road area to Stranton Cemetery.
More than 700 people watched the service which was streamed live online as the coronavirus restrictions meant it only 16 members of Benji’s heartbroken family could attend in person.
As well as being a much-loved son, brother, grandson, nephew, and cousin, Benji was a highly valued member of Manor Community Academy and Hartlepool’s army cadets.
Reverend Robert Desics spoke of the grief, confusion and shock felt by Benji’s tragic and sudden loss.
He said: “Perhaps we are not even sure what to feel or how how to feel it.
“But we come here together because Benji’s life was and is precious. Because he meant so much to each of us.”
Rev Desics, who was also Benji’s padre with the Hartlepool Rifles Detachment, talked about how easily Benji made friends, how he made everyone laugh with his jokes, and how it was impossible to be angry with him.
He was athletic and sporty and liked nothing better than being out with his mates or working out at the gym.
Benji excelled with the cadets and made rapid progress in the 18 months he was with them and planned to join the Army.
Rev Desics said: “Messages of condolence and memories have been shared throughout the company and the country.
“In particular, what's come through is just how caring he was towards his friends; always seeking their wellbeing.”
Benji took part in Hartlepool’s poppy appeal and proudly marched in the Remembrance Day parade.
He was laid to rest in his cadets uniform and carried out of the chapel to the strains of the song Forever Young by Alphaville.