Sunday 23 September 2018

'Fly high with the angels' - hundreds line the streets to say farewell to Alfie Evans

Now at peace: Family handout photo of Alfie Evans cuddling his mother Kate James. Photo: PA
Now at peace: Family handout photo of Alfie Evans cuddling his mother Kate James. Photo: PA

Kim Pilling

HUNDREDS of well-wishers lined the street outside Everton FC's stadium to say farewell to 23-month old Alfie Evans.

Members of the public and "Alfie's Army" broke into applause as the funeral cortege passed the Goodison Park ground en route to a private burial of the youngster in Liverpool.

Last month, doctors at Alder Hey Children's Hospital stopped providing life-support treatment to Alfie after his parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, lost two rounds of fights in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights.

Mr Evans and Ms James had hoped to take Alfie, who had a degenerative brain disease, to a hospital in Rome.

On Monday, an invitation-only funeral service was held in the city before people gathered to pay their respects publicly in Walton Lane.

As the cortege passed, people placed flowers on the lead two hearses which carried floral tributes to Alfie spelling out the words Warrior, Our Hero, Son, Nephew, Grandson and Blue.

His coffin sported images of toy soldiers and the Everton club motif.

Earlier, members of Alfie's Army tied purple and blue ballons to the Dixie Dean statue outside the stadium and a bow in the same colours to the gates behind.

Flowers, pictures and messages left outside Everton's Goodison Park as the cortege of Alfie Evans goes past Photo: Andrew Price/PA Wire
Flowers, pictures and messages left outside Everton's Goodison Park as the cortege of Alfie Evans goes past Photo: Andrew Price/PA Wire

A number of cards were also left at the foot of the statue with one reading: "Alfie. Sleep well wee man. Fly high with the angels. Love Emma Boyne."

Another bore a picture of Alfie with the words 'twinkle twinkle Little Star".

Mr Evans is a fervent supporter of the Premier League club and had spoken of his hopes to take his son to watch the Blues in action.

Merseyside Police had a small, low-key presence in Walton Lane as the cortege passed peacefully in glorious sunshine.

During the protracted legal battle, Alder Hey Children's Hospital said staff had experienced "unprecedented personal abuse" as it found itself at the centre of a "social media storm" as a result of the case.

Protesters attempted to storm the hospital on one occasion and blocked the road outside during demonstrations against the withdrawal of his life-support treatment.

People carrying floral tributes wait for the funeral cortege of toddler Alfie Evans to pass
Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble
People carrying floral tributes wait for the funeral cortege of toddler Alfie Evans to pass Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble

Ahead of the funeral service, Alfie's uncle Daniel Evans posted a message on the Alfie's Army Facebook page in which he thanked everyone for their support on behalf of the family and said only family and close friends would attend the ceremony.

The funeral cortege of Alfie Evans goes past Everton's Goodison Park ground in Liverpool. Photo: Andrew Price/PA Wire
The funeral cortege of Alfie Evans goes past Everton's Goodison Park ground in Liverpool. Photo: Andrew Price/PA Wire

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