SCORES of mourners flocked to All Saints Church, Clayton-le-Moors, to pay tribute to Niall Birtwell, the 12-year-old boy whose sudden mystery death stunned his family and school friends.
Niall, of Tarn Avenue, Clayton-le-Moors, died in Blackburn Royal Infirmary a day after collapsing in the arms of his parents Andrew and Lauren.
He had been suffering from what was thought to be a sickness bug for a few days before his death.
There was standing room only in the church as teachers and fellow pupils from St Christopher's High School, Accrington, gathered to pay their respects.
Also present were staff from All Saints Primary School, Clayton-le-Moors, where Niall formerly studied, including headteacher Peter Jump.
Niall, a budding ice hockey star, recently qualified to play for the Blackburn Hawks' under-14s team, the Kestrels, and members of the senior team wearing their match jerseys acted as coffin bearers.
The club is to create a special trophy in Niall's memory.
Several people paid tribute to him during the service, remembering his sense of humour and love of life.
His parents said he was "a precious gift from heaven, a beautiful person inside and out'', who would be in their hearts forever.
Angela Preston, head of Year 7 at St Christopher's, which had closed for the afternoon as a mark of respect, said: "Niall had the ability to make friends very easily.
"He literally stood out from all the other Year 7 students as he was head and shoulders taller than them. He often had trouble convincing the dinner ladies in the queue that he was in that year group.
"The things I will always remember best about him were his sincerity, his honesty and his charm."
Mr Jump said: "Niall could be quite mischievous but he was also a very honest and kind-hearted boy who was very sympathetic towards others.
"He was a very willing member of the school and was the sort of pupil we were proud to call an All Sainter."
Music played at the funeral included God Gave Rock and Roll To You by Kiss and a version of Fields of Gold by Sting, performed by the St Christopher's Choir.
The Rev John Tranter, who conducted the service, said: "Niall was adored by his family and he came to love and be loved by all who knew him.
"He loved life and he would just throw himself into everything he did with great enthusiasm. He asked to be confirmed at All Saints and even wrote me a letter saying he wanted to learn more about God."
Niall was a music-lover who took recorder, violin and guitar lessons and he also had a stint in the St Christopher's Choir.
His coffin was decorated with pictures of guitars and drums.
The service was followed by cremation at Accrington.