Hundreds celebrate the life of teenager Grace Boxall at Hainault and Chigwell services
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds gathered to say an emotional goodbye to 15-year-old Grace Boxall yesterday at services in Hainault and Chigwell.
The former winner of the Recorder’s Young Citizen Award died on September 26 after a six-year battle with brain tumours.
Family, friends and teachers attended a celebration of the teenager’s life at Forest Park Crematorium, in Forest Road, Hainault - followed by a thanksgiving service at St Mary’s Church, in High Road, Chigwell.
Every seat in the church was filled to hear stories about Grace, of Buckhurst Hill, from her parents and best friends, preluded by the apt Amazing Grace entrance music.
In a message written for his dauther, Grace’s father Peter said: “Grace was beautiful, kind, caring, thoughtful, funny and an inspiration to all - but most of all she was my mate.
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“My mate is gone, but her soul will remain with me forever. It is humbling to have been the father of such a fantastic person.”
Though tears rolled down the cheeks of many in the church, there were roars of laughter as friends shared stories of the Chigwell School student.
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Her sense of humour was a lasting memory for all who spoke, though her father revealed even in at her weakest she was still able to shake her head at his poor jokes.
Her mother, Karen, said her daughter’s smile will last in the memory for most and described Grace as a “wonderful daughter”.
She added: “Most people will remember you because of your beautiful smile. You absolutely loved to make people laugh, and you have you made me so happy for the past 16 years.
“You never believed me, but you were the most beautiful young lady.
“I love you and miss you, and always shall.”
Her English teacher, Juliet Boughton, spoke at the celebration of Grace’s life and revealed how she had once worked on Koala Ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital - where Grace had been treated.
“We are sure she taught us more about life than we were able to teacher her,” she said.
Performances of Jerusalem and Gaelic Blessing came in between tributes to Grace, who founded her own charity, Smiles with Grace, to help sick children.
Donations were made by those in attendance after some final words directed at Peter and Karen from The Chaplain, Father Simon.
He said: “Grace was the perfect name for your daughter.”