Hundreds pay respects at funeral of Ipswich teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens
PUBLISHED: 17:41 04 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:17 05 July 2018
ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434
Almost 800 people have paid their respects to a popular Ipswich teenager who tragically died at the age of 17.
Crowds turned out to celebrate the life of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, who was attacked in Packard Avenue on June 2 and later died in hospital.
So many guests – including family, friends and community leaders – attended his funeral at St Augustine’s Church today that speakers had to be set up outside the venue. His relatives wanted to make the ceremony a celebration, filled with “colour and energy”, to mark the passing of a young life taken too soon.
His mother Sharon Box and twin brother Tyler were among those who walked with the cortege, with a horse-drawn carriage carrying his coffin.
This was followed by three black limousines and hundreds of people on foot.
The Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, was among community leaders who spoke at the service.
“Around the numbing pain and shock of his (Tavis’) death, we are thankful for all he has meant and will mean for a lifetime to those closest to him and those whose lives he touched,” he said.
“Yes, he was mischievous, a big lad whose family talk about his sense of fun, and how he was well known and well liked.”
Songs by Bob Marley and Stormzy were played at the service.
Bishop Martin added: “I have just taken Stormzy’s song, ‘I’m in a safer place, no longer afraid’, to speak the truth about Tavis and the resurrection that is promised him.
“But let’s take these same words to speak about the resurrection of our neighbourhoods, our communities, so we can all say, we are in a safer place and we are no longer afraid.
“We can do that for Tavis. We can do that together.
“In the future we want to see how we can work together even more with the community to make Ipswich safer and a place where everyone can flourish. “This is not just about the Nacton estate, or this side of Ipswich, or just about Ipswich – Tavis’ death affects everyone. We are all connected.
“There can be no part of our town or our county of Suffolk that thinks Tavis’ death is nothing to do with them.”
Rev Trevor Golding, vicar of St Augustine’s, added: “The primary role for the church and I has been to support the family and the community at this time of loss, to be here, and to listen.
“In the future we want to see how we can work together even more with the community to make Ipswich safer and a place where everyone can flourish.”
Police are continuing to appeal for information about the attack on June 2. Two men are due to appear before Ipswich Crown Court later this month charged with Mr Spencer-Aitkens’ murder.
To help, call police on 101.