A Sunderland church was packed to capacity as hundreds of family and friends gathered to say their farewells to an ‘inspirational’ Sunderland teeanger.
A celebration of life service was held for young boxer Josie King, who lost her battle with cancer last week, aged just 15.
The Thorney Close youngster won the hearts of everyone as she battled the bone cancer, Ewing’s sarcoma, while the whole time fighting to help others facing the illness.
St Mary and St Peter’s Church, in Springwell Road, was so full for the funeral that the hall was used to live stream the service to hundreds of other mourners.
As requested, everyone wore bright colours and some of Josie’s boxing pals went along in their boxing kit.
If we were all a bit more like Josie the world would be a better placeRev Katherine Bagnall
Josie’s white coffin, adorned with pink lilies, was driven to the church in a white horse-drawn carriage and carried into the church to the song Dancing in the Sky.
The Rev Katherine Bagnall paid tribute saying Josie’s was “a young life, but a truely inspirational one.”
She said: “Josie was a wonderful and loving teenager who enjoyed life, loved her family and those around her.”
Rev Bagnall said although Josie’s life was a short one there is so much in her life to be thankful for.
She said: “She was someone who had been here a shorter while than we would have liked, but someone who was generous, loving and very strong.
“She has a pure view of life and how it should be. If we were all a bit more like Josie the world would be a better place.”
The congregation heard how Josie, despite being extremely ill in March, had insisted on being taken to buy gifts for her mum, Donna Doneathy, for Mother’s Day, because she wanted her to have something special in case she wasn’t here next Mother’s Day.
They heard about her passion for animals and also her love of designer handbags and make-up.
Josie’s passion for boxing began at Lambton Street Youth Centre on the Ford Estate before moving to Houghton Boxing Club.
She fulfilled her dream of seeing David Haye when he fought Tony Bellew at the 02 in London in May last year, met heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua and had been supported by Sunderland Olympian fighter Josh Kelly.
Josie was one of 11 to be presented with a Bradley Lowery Child of Courage award and was also nominated for a Bravehearts of the North East award.
During the funeral service the youngster’s sister, Jess, 21, read a poem, My Beautiful Sister, and the teenager’s favourite song, Hallelujah was also sung.
Gemma Lowery, mum of six-year-old Bradley Lowery who lost his own battle with cancer last year, has been supporting Josie’s family and read a poem, Look For Me In Rainbows.
Josie, was first diagnosed with cancer in August 2016 after the Sandhill View student discovered a lump on her hip.
She was told she was in remission in May last year following surgery and gruelling chemotherapy, but confided to her loved ones she still felt ill before tests later confirmed her fears.
She spent the last six weeks of life being cared for by mum Donna, 42, dad John King, 51, sister Jess and brother Jack, 14, before her death last Thursday.
Following the church service the family went on to Sunderland Crematorium.