Mourners pay tribute to Aaron Hall who died after lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis
MOURNERS were asked to turn on the lights on their mobile phones and wave them in the air in memory of a 20-year-old who lost his lifelong battle with illness.
The glittering tribute to Aaron Hall was carried out by his friends and family as the sound of Angels by Robbie Williams filled ever corner of Stoke Minster.
There was hardly a dry eye in the house as mourners sung along, while Reverend John Austerberry, who had known Aaron for more than 10 years, led from the front by proudly holding his shining phone above his head.
Moments earlier the coffin of Aaron, who died from cystic fibrosis on October 2, had been carried into the church to the sound of Firework by Katy Perry, one of his favourite songs.
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The former Trentham High School pupil, pictured, had previously requested that people do not wear mourning clothes at his funeral service, and that they celebrated his life.
In a moving tribute, his mum, Sarah, said: "He didn't want there to be any sadness and he said if people were going to cry, then make sure they were crying with happy memories.
"We all know he would be up there saying 'don't be wet lettuces' to us all.
"He has always been my little angel since the day he was born.
"We've been through a lot together in the last 20 years but we've always been each other's rock, confidant and best friend.
"In the last 12 months we had time to talk in depth, and he told me how much he loved all of his family.
"I'll miss my little angel, but I know he will always be around to hold me during the difficult times, and he will always be in my heart until we meet again."
Aaron, of Witchford Crescent, Blurton, spent a lot of time at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, as his condition deteriorated.
He was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder which affects the lungs, when he was just four days old and was not expected to live beyond the age of 18.
But those who knew him best say he never showed any frustration at his fate, and refused to let anything get him down.
His bravery and willingness to help others with his disease earned him the Child of Courage title at the 2008 Sentinel Our Heroes awards, when he was 16 years old.
Mourners were told how Aaron, who had a brother and two sisters, would brighten up the lives of everyone who knew him with his cheeky, fun and caring personality, and how he was a role model and inspiration to other young people suffering from cystic fibrosis.
Mr Austerberry said: "Aaron was only 20 years old, the same age as my son, but he packed an awful lot into his short life.
"He never, ever let anything get him down, or let anything beat him, and the amount of people here in church shows that not even death can beat him."
Aaron's coffin was carried out of the church to There You'll Be, by Faith Hill.