Funeral service pays tribute to 'fearless' Portsmouth teacher who died in China
THE family of a ‘fearless’ teacher have used his funeral to honour his life-saving bravery in China – while calling out the country for leaving them with the ‘nightmare' of repatriating his body.
Kevin Little, who taught English near Shanghai, died on July 30 just a day after his 39th birthday, with his family facing costs of £25,000 to give him a funeral surrounded by his loved ones in Portsmouth.
His brother Adam said ‘unbelievable’ support from the community, including £14,000 of donations, meant Kevin could be honoured at a service at Portchester Crematorium at 10.00am on Friday.
He said: ‘Everyone who has helped – they are not part of the community, they are part of the family now.
‘They have restored our faith in people.’
Adam’s partner, Jess, said the family had felt ‘abandoned’ by both the British and Chinese authorities, with China offering little support despite giving the teacher an award for his bravery.
In 2011, Kevin saved a family of three from a burning house while on his way to work. He received a scroll from the Chinese authorities honouring his bravery, which was laid across his casket during the service.
Jess said: ‘He was a hero in China, and they abandoned his family.’
Family members did not know where Kevin’s body was being stored for more than two weeks after his death, and Adam said they will ‘never be happy’ with the autopsy conducted in China, which concluded he had died from Cardiac Pulmonary Arrest.
He said: ‘We question some of the details in the autopsy.
‘But the Chinese authorities wouldn’t release the body unless we signed a form saying we agreed with it.’
The family have requested a British medical team re-examine the circumstances of Kevin’s death.
The service saw best friend Morne Van Der Merwe pay tribute to the ‘utterly fearless' dad-of-two, who had not seen his children for several years after becoming estranged from their mother.
Morne said the estrangement meant the family ‘have no idea' if Kevin’s sons Ethan, 14, and Codi, 12, knew their father had died.
Kevin’s ashes will be kept in the Portchester Crematorium Memorial Garden.