Moving farewell to 'inspirational' Jon Paul
HUNDREDS of mourners created a sea of blue and white as they said their final goodbyes to an "inspirational" young charity campaigner who touched many hearts.
St Mary's Church, in Plympton, was yesterday filled with more than 100 people who came to pay their respects to 21-year-old Jon Paul Oxley, from Chaddlewood, who lost his fight with cystic fibrosis at the beginning of the month.
Jon Paul, who's main passions in life were football and fire engines, had fought his condition for more than 20 years and had been on a waiting list for a life-saving double lung transplant for 19 months when he died following a lung infection.
Yesterday a vintage fire engine led the funeral cortege and Jon Paul's coffin was covered in blue and white flowers in honour of his favourite football team Sheffield Wednesday.
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The coffin was carried into the church by his brother-in-law Colin Hart, uncle Martin Oxley, uncle Jonathan Wickett, and Stuart Palmer, one of Jon Paul's nurses at Derriford Hospital.
The Rev Roger Beck, who conducted the service, said the number of people, all dressed in Sheffield Wednesday shirts and colours, who had turned out for the funeral was a "great tribute" to Jon Paul.
Caroline Whitton, one of Jon Paul's cystic fibrosis nurses, who he used to call princess lanky, gave a moving tribute to the "handsome" young man she had known for more than four years.
She said: "I am filled with nothing but admiration for the way Jon Paul and his family dealt with his illness. His maturity and bravery was far beyond his years. He was a fighter to the end and an inspiration to many. Goodnight Jon Paul, rest in peace."
The poem 'A million Times' was read out by Jon Paul's sister Hayley, who wore a Sheffied Wednesday football shirt with her brother's name proudly emblazoned across the back.
Mark Oxley, Jon Paul's father, said: "There are so many people and so many hearts that Jon has touched."
The congregation broke into a rapturous applause that lasted nearly five minutes as Mr Oxley ended his emotional tribute by asking them to help celebrate his son's life.
Joy Turner played the song Time To Say Goodbye on her trumpet, as Jon Paul had requested, before the final hymn of the service was sung, and acted out, by a tearful congregation.
Family and friends fought back tears as Jon Paul's coffin was carried out of the church to the sounds of Hi,Ho Sheffield Wednesday as the congregation took to their feet to clap out the much-loved young man who "lived life to the full".
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