Tearful youngsters hold each other for comfort as hundreds turn out for Craig’s funeral
TEARFUL youngsters held each other for comfort as they packed St John’s Church in March today to pay their respects to the popular and much-loved 18 year-old Craig Bird.
Many had to stand just to get the chance to say goodbye to the Metalcraft apprentice whose life was cut tragically short when he died on August 12 after a car accident in Doddington Road, Chatteris.
In a simple, but moving service, the packed congregation listened to Craig’s favourite songs, Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi and Rule the World by Take That, which were played as his coffin entered and left the church.
Craig was described as a “unique individual who lived life to the full” and “a youngster to be proud of” by Canon Peter Baxandall, priest in charge of St John’s.
He said Craig’s caring nature stood out “in a world where many teenagers are vilified for their loutish behaviour”.
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It was clear to see how much of an impact he had made on people of all ages as mourners struggled to hold back their grief at the death of a young man who had touched so many in his short life.
A letter from a 78-year-old woman, who Craig had helped after she fell over at the Isle of Ely Campus, was read as part of the service that showed in many ways the affection in which the former Neale-Wade Community College pupil was held.
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Craig had stayed with the woman and offered his own clothing to care for her and keep her comfortable until the ambulance arrived.
It was, she said, an example that should have left him and his family feeling “immensely proud at his caring attitude”.
Canon Baxandall said Craig had a fondness for pets and said the death of his beloved pet dog Ellie recently had left him broken hearted. Ellie, said Canon Baxandall light-heartedly, had been Craig’s “partner in crime”.
Some attending opted to wear casual clothes after the RIP Craig James Bird Facebook page suggested the congregation be “dressed as Craig would want to see you - no formal dress necessary”.
Craig’s family, Richard, Kim and Emma, included a message on the order of service telling his friends that they wanted them to know “how much they appreciate your presence with them today for your kind thoughts and prayers at this sad time”.
The service at St John’s was followed by a cremation at Fenland Crematorium.
Donations left in Craig’s memory are to be divided between the RNLI, Hinchingbrooke HCT (for the Special Care Baby Unit) and the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
Turner & Son, funeral directors, in City Road, March, will continue to accept donations on behalf of the two causes.