They all wore red and white for eleven year-old Mikey Britten's funeral

Written by Elinor Goodman on .

Over a hundred people crowded into Burbage church to celebrate the life of Mikey Britten.   He died - aged 11 - just before Easter, from an aggressive brain tumour.  

Mikey was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in August 2015 and had undergone three operations and lengthy bouts of chemo.  His struggle with the disease was recorded in a BBC documentary series called The Big C and Me which was broadcast last summer.   

He died at home in the arms of his parents, Mary and Peter, surrounded by his eight siblings.   On Monday (April 24) they walked from their home to the church behind the coffin. Mikey's youngest sister, aged one, was carried by her eldest brother.

The family had been determined to keep Mikey at home till the end, and thanked the NHS and charity outreach workers who had helped them during his final months.  Peter Britten said: “you couldn’t fault the NHS.  They were wonderful.”

Mikey’s support workers paid tribute to the loving care given by all members of the family, and the devotion of his parents who took it turns to sleep beside his bed when he was in hospital for weeks at a time. 

After the funeral, Tom Beard, who produced the BBC programmes, said he had never met such a loving family.

Children from Burbage primary school, where Mikey was a pupil, and latterly attended part time, were given the day off school, and many came to the service.  

Mikey was an Arsenal fan so everyone was asked to wear red and white.  His coffin was painted with the Arsenal logo.  On it rested floral tributes: “Brother,” "Son” and “Mikey”.

A family tribute was read out by Amelia Brown, from the Rainbow Trust.  She and the outreach nurse, Caroline, from Great Western Hospital, became his real friends during the illness.  

Amelia Brown recalled his great smile, and cheery temperament even when he was in such discomfort.  His teacher Nicola Coupe was close to tears when she described his cheeky grin and occasional stubbornness when asked to do something he didn’t like.

Afterwards everyone was invited back to the village hall where friends had put on a magnificent spread in memory of a boy who will long be remembered in Burbage.