SCORES of tearful mourners turned out to bid an emotional farewell to schoolboy Matthew Hayes.
Friends, family including mum Nicola, dad Neil and sister Rehanna, teachers, and representatives from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue paid their respects to the 12-year-old, who was killed after being hit by a bus on Friday, November 22, on Ryhope Street.
The service, held yesterday at St Matthew’s Church, Silksworth Road, remembered the youngster’s “cheery” nature, and tributes were read out from his friends and teachers.
Headteacher of The Venerable Bede Church of England Academy, Gill Booth, said that Matthew was a “bright light in the academy,” and read a Bible passage during the service.
The Rev David Tolhurst, who led the service, said: “I have spoken to many people about Matthew and two things stand out – his smile and his humour.”
He added: “This loss is unexpected and tragic, the community is in shock and disbelief.
“We feel in our bones that this is not fair.
“If numbers alone could heal grief then the massive outpouring of love for Matthew’s family over the past week, and again today, would have dried our tears.”
White flowers topped a Dr Who theme coffin for the youngster, who was said to be a huge fan of the hit BBC1 TV show.
Other floral tributes included a Dr Who tardis phonebox, as well as the words grandson and Matthew, which accompanied the coffin in a white Jaguar Sovereign hearse.
Mrs Booth added that friends had described him as “always generous, very funny and he had a kind heart”.
“He went out of his way to cheer people up,” she said. “His life has touched many at Venerable Bede.”
The Rev Tolhurst said to Matthew’s family, who arrived in cars bearing the temporary registration Matthew 1, that “the days ahead will be difficult”.
He said: “Lean on the love and support of your community and remember it as a testimonial to Matthew, a sign of everyone’s love for him, a sign of how he touched the lives of those around him.
“Rest in the love of your community and one another.”
The congregation, which celebrated the life of the youngster, heard music including Fireflies by Owl City, and Carry on Wayward Son by Kansas, as the coffin was carried out of the church.
Donations were asked to be made in lieu of flowers to The National Autistic Society.
Family members attended a private committal at Sunderland Crematorium, and a reception was held at Humbledon & Plains Farm Working Mens Club.