Mourners Gather In Liverpool To Pay Final Respects To Alfie Evans
Mourners gathered this morning outside Everton Football Club's Goodison Park Stadium to say a final goodbye to Alfie Evans as his funeral procession passed by.
Alfie's Everton-supporting dad, Tom Evans, sat in the car in front of the tiny coffin carrying his son from a private funeral to his final resting place.
Tearful supporters wore T-shirts emblazoned with the 23-month-old's face and threw roses onto the bonnet of the passing hearse.
The car was decorated with flowers that said, "Our Hero" and "Warrior" in tribute to the young lad's long battle against his illness. His coffin was white with an Everton crest and toy soldiers on the side.
Tom Evans had spoken before about his desire to bring Alfie to an Everton match one day.
Alfie became the subject of a huge legal and ethical battle after courts ruled that doctors should stop his treatment for a neurological condition.
His story became so well known that even Pope Francis asked for the authorities to let him be brought to Rome where a hospital had agreed to continue his care.
He died in Alder Hey Children's Hospital on 28 April, surrounded by his family.
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Crowds began gathering hours before the procession was due to go past this morning and by the time it arrived there were hundreds of people by the side of the road.
Tributes were left outside the stadium at the bottom of a statue of famous Evertonian Dixie Dean.
Alongside the hearse carrying Alfie's body and his parents there were other cars transporting other members of his parents' families.
Ahead of the funeral police had asked that mourners respect the privacy of the families and paid tribute to the supporters of Alfie's cause.
Chief Inspector Chris Gibson, of Merseyside Police, said: "We respect that this is a very difficult time for Alfie's family, friends and the wider members of the public and appreciate that a number of people will want to pay their respects and offer their condolences.
"Alfie's mum and dad, Tom and Kate, continue to thank the community for their support but have asked us to ask well-wishers to respect their privacy during the event."
Recently, Alfie's uncle, Daniel Evans, had posted to the Facebook page for supporters of Alfie's cause (known as 'Alfie's Army') explaining that the funeral was to be a private affair.
His post read: "The funeral will be private due to family's wishes, we ask that no one turns up unless you have been personally invited by Thomas and Kate as there's a limited number of people who are allowed to attend, invitations are currently being sorted out for family and close friends.
"Thank you all for your support."
Featured Image Credit: PA