Neighbourhood gathers to say final farewell
Silence fell over West Bank on Friday morning as the neighbourhood gathered to say goodbye to one of its young people.
The funeral of Toby John Wright, 14, took place at St Mary’s Church on Friday.
More than 700 mourners attended, filling the pews and with some having to stand for the service outside the entrance.
A hearse adorned with floral wreaths spelling ‘brother’ and ‘Toby Jug’ led the cortege along St Mary’s Road to the church.
Neighbours who knew the boy indirectly gathered outside to mark his passing.
Residents remembered him as a ‘lovely lad’ who was well-liked and paid tribute to the teenager in a Book of Remembrance.
The service included the singing of two hymns, All Things Bright And Beautiful and Amazing Grace, and a family friend read a poem called A Poem For Our Toby, which was written by the boy’s close relatives.
There was also a eulogy about his life, his love of clothes and of being active.
One hundred members of the congregation attended the subsequent cremation.
Toby died three weeks ago following a collision involving two off-road motorbikes on Saturday, September 14, on Desoto Road, in Widnes.
Rev Dawn Harrison, who conducted the service, said mourners remembered Toby as a ‘a little fellow with the biggest of hugs’.
She said: “It was a good opportunity to celebrate the life.
“He was always happy to do jobs for family and help out.
“He was very interested dogs and had his own dog, Rio.
“He loved drawings and making things – he had been learning how to lay paving blocks.
“His passions were bikes and computer games.
“One of the things that was said to me was that he was a ‘little fellow with the biggest of hugs’.”
She added: “I think the day was a testament to how much he was loved by the community and his family that more than 700 people gathered in church to celebrate his life and commend him to God.”
Asked how West Bank was coping with another tragedy involving one of its young people, she said: “The area is holding up very well.
“That’s the strength of this community.
“One of the things I spoke about was the love that’s visible in the community, which even in the midst of tragedy looks after one another and looks out for one another, and that’s never been more clear.”
Residents Christine Mulcahy, Wendy Morrison and Kerry and Karen Hambleton were unable to attend the service but paid their respects from the side of St Mary’s Road.
The women said they had not heard an off-road motorbike since the tragedy, and added that they remembered Toby fondly.
They said: “He got on with everyone.
“He had a lovely laugh, smiled at everyone and was always a happy lad, God bless him. He was a lovely lad, dead down to earth and we all thought the world of him – everyone in West Bank did. Everybody loved him. He spoke to everybody. It’s tragic.”