Family’s farewell to tragic teenager
Family and friends said goodbye to St Laurence School pupil Harvey Johns at his funeral on Wednesday.
Parents Jennifer and Iain and his sister Arrianne commemorated the life of Harvey, 16, who was found dead at his family home in Batheaston on the morning of Tuesday, October 2, after suffering a cardiac arrest.
The funeral service at West Wiltshire Crem- atorium, Semington, was taken by the Rev Joanna Abecassis, of Bradford on Avon’s Holy Trinity Church, who is a governor at the school in Ashley Road.
She said: “The crem-atorium was full with close family and friends. “The service was very traditional as this is what his family had requested and there was a sense of pain in the air creating a solemn atmosphere, which is obviously acute when a 16-year-old dies suddenly.
“We had a thanksgiving for his life and shared some good memories of Harvey.” The ceremony started with America’s A Horse with No Name being played, and finished with the Peter Gabriel song Solsbury Hill.
During the service mourners sang the hymns Lord Of All Hopefulness and Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.
Dr Abecassis said that peace was a prominent theme of the service and that St Laurence School was well represented at the service.
She said: “There were some lovely memories from Harvey’s teachers, who spoke of a quiet and very polite young man. “He was always very respectful and would thank his teachers when he left his lessons.
“His family also told stories of home life with Harvey and how much they miss him.”
Soon after learning of sixth former Harvey’s death, friends at St Laurence set up a Facebook page paying tribute to him, which now has around 1,200 members. Sixth form students honoured Harvey by wearing red and black to school the day after he died. The gesture referred to his love of history, in particular a school trip he went on last summer to the First World War battlefields in France and Belgium, where he and fellow students were given red T-shirts.
St Laurence’s acting associate head, Fiona Hand, said: “Five members of staff and some of Harvey’s closest friends from the school were present. They were very respectful and touched by the service.
“There are a few ideas about a memorial to honour Harvey which we want his family to be involved in. “We wanted the family to get past his funeral and then we will work on a memorial, probably towards Christmas.”
After Harvey’s funeral his family held a small function paying tribute to the 16-year-old, who had a keen interest in carpentry and joinery, and had been studying for an A-level in product design and a BTEC in business studies.