COLNE was brought to a standstill by almost 1,000 mourners as they paid tribute to teenager James Goodship.
Former Burnley College student James drowned after playing on a makeshift raft with friends at Lake Burwain in Foulridge last month.
Yesterday, hundreds of his friends followed the 17-year-old's coffin to Colne Parish Church to pay their final respects.
A hearse carrying James’s coffin left his father’s home in Duke Street at 1.30pm, with friends and family walking behind before it arrived to a tearful reception outside the church.
James’s school and college pals – many of whom were standing outside the packed church in Church Street – could not hold back tears as his uncle, Paul, delivered an emotional but humorous eulogy.
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After entering to the Rihanna song Diamond, James’s uncle Paul, brother of his father, 45-year-old Peter Goodship, told mourners: “Colne won’t be the same without you.”
He added: “The last two weeks have been dark and difficult at times but to see all your appreciation, your flowers, your tributes – and I’ve been reading through many of them – has been so comforting to the family.
“From the circumstances of James’s departure, we could conclude that he was just a tearaway, but actually, we couldn’t be more wrong. He was totally the opposite. He was warm, caring, homely, likeable, and most of all, lovable. That is credit to Peter, Jo, Mel and Emlyn, who have just put so much into his life.
“Short though it was, he had a full life. Most of you in here will know that he lived life to the full. He squeezed every bit of life out of every minute of his precious life. He was such a sociable lad. He was sociable with his family, his friends and with strangers, which is quite unique.
“He was soft at heart – the typical kind of lad who would sleep in a new pair of football boots. He was a character. James was always wanting a challenge, whether that was play fighting or games or one-upmanship. He always liked a challenge and he never gave up.
“Where James, was there was always life.”
James’s mum, Melanie, 40, sister Lauren, 19, and brother Thomas, seven, were joined by Peter’s partner Joanne Brayshaw, Melanie’s partner Emlyn Parry, 41, and his step-brother Jack, 15. They sat at the front of the church throughout the funeral. James’s former headteacher at Park High School, Dr Paul Parkin, was present inside, as was Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson.
Later in his eulogy, James’s uncle said: “To his friends he was a gift. Bringing you smiles and bringing you laughter, he was somebody you could trust. That’s evident by so many of you being here. James valued all that became his friends.”
“I’m sure he left strangers thinking: ‘There are some great young people about in this world.’ There are a lot of sentiments on those pieces of paper that called him an angel. And that is exactly what he is today. James valued people and valued life. James’s legacy is to value everyone and everything.”
He also told several anecdotes, including times when James ran a ‘contraband’ school tuck shop and played a prank at Colne baths.
The ceremony, conducted by the Rev Jim Crawford, also heard from James’s best friend, Luke Binns, who said it was ‘an honour’ to talk about him.
He said: “What can I say apart from what a fantastic, cheeky, fun and happy person you were? You had your whole life ahead of you. You were not only my best friend; you were like a brother to me.
“We were all looking forward to our 18th birthdays next year, but don’t worry pal, there’ll be a glass there for you. It’s been a pleasure having you in my life and don’t worry about your family. All our close friends will look after them like you would have wanted. RIP brother, I’m going to miss you.”
Several of James’s young friends left the building when a second song, R Kelly’s The World’s Greatest, was played, unable to control their tears.
Many mourners were wearing pink socks at the request of James’s family, while others sported the red shirt of Liverpool FC – James’s favourite football team.His coffin was carried out of the church by his friends to the tune of the club’s anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone, before he was taken to Colne Cemetery for interment.
James fell into Lake Burwain at around 7.30pm on June 22. Overnight searches recovered his body from the water at 5.40am the next day. An inquest into James’s death was opened last Thursday.