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Father's tribute to cricketing son

PUBLISHED: 10:53 08 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:04 03 March 2010

A GRIEVING father has paid tribute to his 17-year-old son, who died after a freak cricketing accident, describing him as "a true friend and mate".

The tribute came as more than 350 people packed into the village church at Hoxne yesterday for a thanksgiving service for the life of Philip Govier, a sixth-form pupil at Hartismere High School, Eye.

A GRIEVING father has paid tribute to his 17-year-old son, who died after a freak cricketing accident, describing him as "a true friend and mate".

The tribute came as more than 350 people packed into the village church at Hoxne yesterday for a thanksgiving service for the life of Philip Govier, a sixth-form pupil at Hartismere High School, Eye.

The teenager, a sports all-rounder, died in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, four days after receiving a serious head injury in a collision with a team-mate as they both tried to catch the ball in a match at Diss Cricket Ground.

Yesterday, as his coffin entered the church, one of Philip's favourite pop songs, High, by the Lighthouse Family, was played on a PA system.

His father, Stephen Govier, told the congregation it was difficult to comprehend the gravity of what had happened to Philip.

"Not only was Philip our son and brother to Lindsay and Ian, but a true friend and mate," he said.

Mr Govier said his son had been loved, cared for and respected by his friends and family.

"As a son he was everything desired by a mother and father," he said.

The teenager had pursued a constant round of various sports together with parties and discos and had worked hard at school to achieve the A level grades he needed.

"Phil was only 17 years old but in that time packed in 70 years," said Mr Govier, who described his son as an inspiration.

He added: "Our families and our lives have been graced by Phil's presence. He was a true star and attracted happiness in his life. His closest friends have amazed us with their compassion, friendship and respect of Phil."

Among those present were representatives from cricket and other sports clubs, including the MCC.

Many school friends were in the congregation and three of them - Becky Chambers, James Hillier and Ryan O'Leary – spoke during the service about their memories of Philip.

"Parties won't be the same without him. He was the life and soul, constantly making us laugh and smile, often at his expense," said James.

Rector of Hoxne, Rev Tony Lowe, said the village church witnessed both the joys and sorrows of life.

Three weeks ago it had been almost full for a christening, two weeks ago it had been full for a wedding and now it was full again for a service of thanksgiving following the death of a young man.

"Philip was a very special young man on the threshold of his life," he said.

As the coffin was carried out of the church the PA system played I'll Be Missing You, by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans, a song chosen by the youngster's friends.

The family later accompanied the coffin to Norwich Crematorium for a private funeral service.

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