Hundreds of mourners said a tearful goodbye to a brave little boy, who had a rare genetic disorder, by wearing bright colours at his funeral this afternoon.
Well-wishers attended Alnwick’s St Michael’s Church to celebrate the life of four-year-old Aidan Jackowiak Smith who died on Sunday, May 3, in Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. He suffered respiratory failure, after being critically ill for a month.
Dubbed the world’s rarest boy, the inspirational Alnwick lad had the complex condition Cloves Syndrome, suffering huge swelling to his face and body. Aidan, with a one-in-50-million disease, also endured regular seizures.
His parents, Karl Smith and Vikki Jackowiak, wanted to give their beloved son, described as a superhero and little soldier, a special send-off. He was given just that.
The church was transformed into a sea of colour as mourners wore bright clothes to honour the youngster, known for his bubbly personality and infectious giggle.
One of the wreaths which surrounded his Gruffalo-decorated coffin was a Superman-themed floral display, with a big red capital A in the centre. It was accompanied by a heartfelt message from his parents, which read: “Our little baby boy, you came into our lives and brought us so much joy. If you look into our eyes it’s like someone has turned out the light. But this is not goodbye our son, for now it’s just goodnight. Love mammy and daddy xxx”
Aidan’s coffin, described by loved ones as his forever bed, was brought into the church to the sound of John Legend’s chart-topping song All Of Me. One of the youngster’s favourite tunes, its lyrics – Love your curves and all your edges, All your perfect imperfections – were particularly fitting for Aidan. One of the pallbearers was Aidan’s doting older brother Daniel.
The poignant service was led by Davina Radford, chaplain at St Oswald’s Hospice. She described Aidan as ‘a special soul who loved cuddles, sloppy wet kisses, high-fives and Costa Coffee biscuits; a lad who loved to kick his leg like Louie Spence, was the best blower of kisses in the world and had puppy-dog eyes’.
Continuing her touching tribute to the youngster, she said: “He loved so many things, especially his family. He was the rarest boy in the world. But it wasn’t Cloves Syndrome that made him one-in-50-million, it was who he was and what he meant to so many people which made him so extraordinary.
“He was a medical marvel and doctors said that he did far more than they thought he would. Despite his fragile body, he was one of the strongest little boys they had ever met.
Aidan was a special soul who loved cuddles, sloppy wet kisses, high-fives and Costa Coffee biscuits; a lad who loved to kick his leg like Louie Spence, was the best blower of kisses in the world and had puppy-dog eyes.Davina Radford, chaplain at St Oswald’s Hospice
“Aidan experienced more in his four-and-a-half years than most of us experience in our own lifetime. He met celebrities, had a documentary and countless articles about him and flew first-class to America.
“He was a local, national and international celebrity. He was a celebrity because he was Aidan Jackowiak Smith. By being him, he has touched the lives of countless people and that is what we are celebrating today, although his death has also left an unfillable hole in our lives.”
In a touching tribute, she lit a candle in memory of Aidan, who she described as a ‘bright light’, but added: “Aidan would be better represented by a giant sparkler. The light that Aidan has brought will never fade in our hearts and memories.”
Davina also read extracts from The Gruffalo, as well as Mary Stevenson’s poem Footprints in the Sand, which was specially chosen by Aidan’s dad.
In an emotional end to the proceedings, All of Me was replayed as Aidan’s coffin was carried out of the church.
Mourners gave generously after the service, donating money to two causes – Newcastle-based St Oswald’s Hospice, which provided respite for Aidan, and Alnwick’s Barndale House School, where the youngster was a pupil.