Farewell to 'Batman' Ben, the boy who captured hearts
Published 21/08/2016 | 02:30
'Batman' Ben Farrell, the brave five-year-old who captured the hearts of a nation, was laid to rest amid emotional scenes in Dublin yesterday.
The youngster died from a rare form of cancer which was diagnosed on Christmas Eve.
His parents Valerie and Alan, from Lanesborough in Finglas, brought him to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Michigan four weeks ago for specialist treatment that wasn't available in Ireland after a massive fundraising campaign.
The Dublin GAA team, Aslan singer Christy Dignam and Hollywood actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers all offered support.
But Ben, who got his nickname from his love of superheroes, sadly passed away on Wednesday surrounded by his family.
His funeral Mass took place at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Arbour Hill, Dublin, yesterday. Fr Bryan Shortall said Ben came from good stock and his family made him the lovable child he was. "In truth he was a superhero, he battled hard with cancer. He was a small boy of five, who had the power of Ali, Brogan, Ronaldo or McGregor and we feel his power now."
Fr Shortall said Ben loved to sing the song Show Me the Way to Go Home - which was in his favourite movie Jaws. He told how Ben had sung the song "out loud in the hospital, banging out on the table".
"He was like Brody, Hooper and Quint in the movie Jaws - singing on the Orca," Fr Shortall added. "There was something otherworldly about Ben. He was mature beyond his years… in Michigan, Valerie said to him 'I wish I could take your pain from you,' and Ben replied: 'No mammy, I wouldn't want to give it to you, I can handle it'."
Mourners laughed when they heard that when Ben travelled to the US he asked Valerie: "Am I famous here like at home?"
Ben's cousins brought up gifts to the altar including a Batman toy car, a colouring book and a carton of milk - his favourite drink.