Archie Battersbee: funeral held in Essex for 12-year-old who was at centre of life-support legal battle

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“He was the best little boy ever, just perfect,” Archie’s mum Hollie said in a heartfelt tribute.

The life of Archie Battersbee has been celebrated at a funeral service featuring videos of him singing and performing gymnastics.

Family and friends of the tragic 12-year-old gathered at a church in Southend to pay their respects.

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A judge based in the Family Division of the High Court in London ruled in July that doctors could lawfully stop providing life-support treatment to the youngster, who suffered brain damage in an incident at his home in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, in April.

Doctors stopped treatment in early August after Archie’s mother, Hollie Dance, and father, Paul Battersbee, failed in bids to overturn Mr Justice Hayden’s ruling.

Archie’s family have been supported by a campaign group called the Christian Legal Centre.

Archie Battersbee’s funeral took place on Tuesday, 13 September.Archie Battersbee’s funeral took place on Tuesday, 13 September.
Archie Battersbee’s funeral took place on Tuesday, 13 September. | PA

Where was the funeral held?

Archie’s funeral took place at St Mary’s Church in Prittlewell, Southend, at 12pm on Tuesday (13 September).

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The hundreds of mourners who attended wore black with some purple, at the request of the family. Archie’s coffin arrived in a hearse drawn by four black horses with purple headwear. Flowers arranged on top of the hearse read “son”, with others reading “Archie’s army”.

Church bells tolled as the coffin was carried inside, with the song Hypnotize by American rapper Notorious B.I.G playing over speakers inside the church as people filed into pews. Paul Mackay, the vicar of St Mary’s, said there would be an eclectic mixture of music and prayer to celebrate Archie’s life.

During the service, a video of Archie singing One Call Away by Charlie Puth was played, before the choir performed a rendition of the song.

What did Archie’s mum say?

Archie’s mother tearfully addressed the congregation before someone shouted “we love you Hollie, we’re so proud of you” and the crowd broke into spontaneous applause.

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Ms Dance said, from the front of the church: “He was just such a beautiful little boy and just he made the most of absolutely everything that he done.

“He lived a very fulfilled and happy life. He was very, very energetic.”

She continued: “He was the best little boy ever, just perfect.

“There was a few little challenges along the way but he was just moulding into such a perfect little man. I love him so much.”

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The song Someone You Loved by pop star Lewis Capaldi was played over speakers, and there was poetry, hymns, a bible reading and a video montage of photographs and film of Archie, including some of him doing somersaults.

As people filed out of the church, Lucid Dreams by Juice WRLD was played.

The family said, in an order of service for the funeral, that donations to the Tafida Raqeeb Foundation would be gratefully received.

The foundation aims to improve the quality of life of children who suffer from a neurological condition and “be their vocal advocates”.

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Bells tolled again as Archie’s coffin was carried from the church and led away in the horse-drawn hearse.

Hollie Dance (third from left) follows as the coffin of her 12-year-old son Archie Battersbee is taken from St Mary's Church, Prittlewell, Southend-on-Sea, Essex after his funeral.Hollie Dance (third from left) follows as the coffin of her 12-year-old son Archie Battersbee is taken from St Mary's Church, Prittlewell, Southend-on-Sea, Essex after his funeral.
Hollie Dance (third from left) follows as the coffin of her 12-year-old son Archie Battersbee is taken from St Mary's Church, Prittlewell, Southend-on-Sea, Essex after his funeral. | PA

What happened to Archie?

Judges were told Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on 7 April.

She thinks he may have been taking part in an online challenge.

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, thought he was brain-stem dead and said continued life-support treatment was not in his best interests.

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Bosses at Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, asked a High Court judge to make decisions on what medical moves were in Archie’s best interests.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot initially considered the case and concluded that Archie was dead.

But Court of Appeal judges upheld a challenge, by Archie’s parents, against Mrs Justice Arbuthnot’s ruling and said evidence should be reviewed by a different High Court judge.

Mr Justice Hayden then ruled, after a further hearing, that ending treatment would be in Archie’s best interests.

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When are talks taking place with a health minister?

Ms Dance is preparing to discuss the implications of the case with a health minister.

She wrote to Steve Barclay, who was health secretary when Archie died, asking if she and her MP Anna Firth could meet for talks.

Mr Barclay, who is no longer health secretary, replied to say a minister would discuss Archie’s case.

The Christian Legal Centre spokesman said no date had yet been fixed for a meeting.

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