Funeral held for 12-year-old Archie who was at centre of legal battle

·3-min read
Funeral held for 12-year-old Archie who was at centre of legal battle

The life of Archie Battersbee, who was at the centre of a legal battle between his parents and a hospital, has been celebrated at a funeral service featuring videos of him singing and performing gymnastics.

The 12-year-old’s life support was withdrawn on August 6 after his parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, failed in bids to overturn a High Court ruling that doctors could lawfully do so.

Judges were told Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head at home in Southend in Essex on April 7.

She thinks he may have been taking part in an online challenge, and he suffered brain damage.

His funeral was held at St Mary’s Church in Southend on Tuesday and the hundreds of mourners who attended wore black with some purple, at the request of the family.

Archie’s coffin arrived in a hearse drawn by four black horses with purple headwear.

Flowers arranged on top of the hearse read “son”, with others reading “Archie’s army”.

Church bells tolled as the coffin was carried inside, with the song Hypnotize by American rapper the Notorious B.I.G playing over speakers inside the church as people filed into pews.

Paul Mackay, the vicar of St Mary’s, said there would be an eclectic mixture of music and prayer to celebrate Archie’s life.

During the service, a video of Archie singing One Call Away by Charlie Puth was played, before the choir performed a rendition of the song.

Archie’s mother tearfully addressed the congregation before someone shouted “we love you Hollie, we’re so proud of you” and the crowd broke into spontaneous applause.

Ms Dance said, from the front of the church: “He was just such a beautiful little boy and just he made the most of absolutely everything that he done.

“He lived a very fulfilled and happy life.

“He was very, very energetic.”

She continued: “He was the best little boy ever, just perfect.

“There was a few little challenges along the way but he was just moulding into such a perfect little man.

“I love him so much.”

The song Someone You Loved by pop star Lewis Capaldi was played over speakers, and there was poetry, hymns, a bible reading and a video montage of photographs and film of Archie, including some of him doing somersaults.

As people filed out of the church, Lucid Dreams by Juice WRLD was played.

The family said, in an order of service for the funeral, that donations to the Tafida Raqeeb Foundation would be gratefully received.

The foundation aims to improve the quality of life of children who suffer from a neurological condition and “be their vocal advocates”.

Bells tolled again as Archie’s coffin was carried from the church and led away in the horse-drawn hearse.

The youngster’s family have been supported by a campaign group called the Christian Legal Centre.

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, thought he was brain-stem dead and said continued life-support treatment was not in his best interests.

His mother Ms Dance is preparing to discuss the implications of Archie case with a health minister.