The Wanted pay tribute to ‘brother’ Tom Parker as they say goodbye at his funeral

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The members of The Wanted Nathan Sykes (second left), Max George (centre) and Siva Kaneswaran (third right) arrive for the funeral of The Wanted star Tom Parker in Queensway, Petts Wood (PA)
The members of The Wanted Nathan Sykes (second left), Max George (centre) and Siva Kaneswaran (third right) arrive for the funeral of The Wanted star Tom Parker in Queensway, Petts Wood (PA)

Boyband The Wanted joined mourners in south-east London to say a final farewell to bandmate Tom Parker.

Parker died last month at the age of 33 following an 18-month battle with brain cancer.

Surviving members Max George, Siva Kaneswaran, Nathan Sykes and Jay McGuiness all acted as pallbearers, carefully carrying Parker’s coffin into St Francis of Assisi church in Petts Wood for the service on Wednesday.

Champagne Supernova by one of Parker’s favourite bands, Oasis, was played during their poignant act.

Tom Parker’s The Wanted bandmates acted as pallbearers at his funeral (Tina Campbell / Evening Standard)
Tom Parker’s The Wanted bandmates acted as pallbearers at his funeral (Tina Campbell / Evening Standard)

During the service, George and Kaneswaran got up to deliver speeches.

George - who was supported by girlfriend Stacey Giggs at the service – went first.

Claiming that he had heard Parker’s voice as he entered the church, the Mancunian admitted that he hadn’t written anything down and would instead let his late friend guide him.

“Tom was always a brother, he made such an impact from the start. His love for music and striving for success outmatched all of us,” he told attendees.

The front of the order of service for Tom Parker’s funeral (Tina Campbell  / Evening Standard)
The front of the order of service for Tom Parker’s funeral (Tina Campbell / Evening Standard)

“He has left us far too early and we will miss him so much. I think the heartbreak shared here today is a credit to the love that Tom spread around the world”.

George also joked how Parker was the only member of the group to get in a “punch-up with every member of The Wanted,” but that “he could get away with it because he was Tom”.

Irish model Kaneswaran meanwhile remembered the proud Bolton native as a "firecracker" in an emotional speech and poem.

He said: "Where do we begin? There can never be one paragraph to contain the legendary Tom Parker. But one can try. First, we’d like to thank Kelsey and the kids, Nigel, Noreen and Lewis, for welcoming us all here today.

A “Glad You Came” wreath was placed at the entrance of the church of Tom Parker’s funeral (Tina Campbell / Evening Standard)
A “Glad You Came” wreath was placed at the entrance of the church of Tom Parker’s funeral (Tina Campbell / Evening Standard)

"I know everyone in this church is sending you so much love in this moment. It’s so wonderful to see all the support that has come for Tom.

"I know we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I know he’s loving this," he added, which was met by chuckles from the crowd.

He continued: "The loss of someone you love is such an undefinable thing. It appears sharply in our lives and can overwhelm us with sadness. But losing someone also reveals to us how much of an important person they were, how much of an amazing man he was.

"If we were to close our eyes and remember Tom as a person, I bet all of us would come up with totally different accounts of him. One as a loving friend, husband, brother, father and son, he was all of these and so much more. I know there’s one thing we can all agree on - Tom Parker was an absolute hero.

Max George was supported by girlfriend Stacey Giggs (Tina Campbell / Evening Standard)
Max George was supported by girlfriend Stacey Giggs (Tina Campbell / Evening Standard)

Recalling their early days together in the band, he spoke of Parker’s desire to bring out the best in people, saying: "Without even thinking, the spiky-haired northerner asks the choreographer to show him the moves. He then proceeds to march up to anyone struggling, stand beside them and show them the choreography.

“To be honest, with Tom’s dancing, I don’t know if he was helping them or hurting them. But he was never afraid to stand up for us, no matter the risk. We saw it the minute we met him, and I’m so glad everyone got to see that bravery over these first few months."

"The world witnessed his strength. He always cared. I believe that all came from that big Boltonian heart of his. For those of you who knew Tom back in the day, you knew he sometimes came across as a bit tough, but that was all a ruse.

"He was a true softie inside and out. When that boy loved, he loved hard, and you felt it.

Tom Parker with his The Wanted bandmates (PA Wire)
Tom Parker with his The Wanted bandmates (PA Wire)

"We saw it when he was around his parents, he would be giving it large and then as soon as they would visit, he would turn into a puppy and be so tender with them as well as cussing them out nonstop.”

Parker is survived by widow Kelsey Hardwick, 32, and their children Aurelia, two, and one-year-old Bodhi.

Paying tribute to them, Kaneswaran said: "And secondly, we witnessed his tenderness and how enamoured he was by Kelsey, Aurelia and Bodhi. They were everything he loved about life. He wore his heart on his sleeve, and he was loved because of it. Even on stage, once the show began, we always knew we had a sure thing in our corner.

"The boy was an absolute firecracker, and his fans always got that Parker presence. That’s what brought us here today and I know that’s never going to leave us."

Fans watched the service on specially erected screens outside the church (Tina Campbell / Evening Standard)
Fans watched the service on specially erected screens outside the church (Tina Campbell / Evening Standard)

He concluded by reading a special poem, which said: "Tom, we miss you so much it hurts, We thought we’d have more time.

"What an honour it has been for us. To see your spirit shine. We remember all the good times.

"That we got to share together. Because those days, our old friend, Those days are gold forever, Rest in peace, Tom.”

As Parker’s body was brought out of the church, The Wanted’s hit Gold Forever played.

Three red double-decker buses reading ‘Rest in peace Tom Parker’ were hired to transport guests (Tina Campbell / Evening Standard)
Three red double-decker buses reading ‘Rest in peace Tom Parker’ were hired to transport guests (Tina Campbell / Evening Standard)

Mourners including One Direction’s Liam Payne, EastEnders star Louisa Lytton and former Towie stars James Argent and Lydia Bright, passed a white and red floral tribute reading “Glad You Came” – a nod to another one of their hits, which had been placed at the church entrance.

Fans, who had watched the service on specially erected screens outside, then gave one final round of applause with some letting off gold heart-shaped balloons as Parker and the procession passed.

Three red double-decker busses which displayed “RIP Tom Parker” had been hired to transport Parker’s family and friends to the crematorium.

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