HUNDREDS gathered to say their last goodbyes to a tragic teenager who was found hanged.
Family and schoolfriends packed into the funeral of 16-year-old Robbie Hale yesterday afternoon.
Many chose to wear red coats, ties and scarves in memory of the Liverpool fan and keen footballer.
About 300 mourners were at the crematorium by the time his coffin arrived.
It was then led in to the tune of Angels by Robbie Williams.
So many people turned out to pay their respects that some mourners had to stand outside and listen to the service on loudspeakers.
Robbie’s dad, Pete, read out a moving tribute to his son during the service.
‘He was a beautiful blue-eyed baby boy, what more could we have asked for?’ he said.
‘He was my best friend. He was able to get away with most things.
‘He was a young man with a very mature mind.’
The service heard how Robbie had got interested in football from the age of six.
He had ambitions of becoming a sports journalist and told friends he wanted to be like Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling.
Mr Hale added: ‘He was into football from a young age – I started training him as soon as he took an interest.
‘I probably gave him more stick than any other kid but he was a good boy and he took it well.’
A version of Eric Clapton’s song Tears in Heaven was played which had been specially recorded by a female friend of Robbie.
His uncle also penned a poem which he read out.
At the end mourners released 40 white balloons.
It was two weeks today that Robbie, a student at Bay House School, Gosport, was found dead at his home in Corsair Close, Lee-on-the-Solent.
To make sure as many as possible of his friends could attend the service, Robbie’s mum, Lorraine Hale, organised for coaches to collect them and take them to Wessex Vale Crematorium in Hedge End.
Robbie’s family had asked mourners to make a donation in his memory to either Help for Heroes, or PAPYRUS, a charity working for the prevention of suicide among young people.
Before the service Robbie’s elder sister, 19-year-old Danielle, spoke of her pain at losing her brother.
‘Robbie was the best brother I could have ever asked for – cheeky, funny and gorgeous,’ she told The News.
‘He truly was one in a million.
‘The best thing about Robbie was his smile and cheekiness.
‘He never failed to light up the room.
‘Every moment we spent together was always full of laughs and banter.
‘Whether playing in the pool on holiday and pushing each other in or just playing on the PlayStation in the house.
‘I loved Robbie so much and will carry on loving him until the end of my time. It’s now my job to keep it strong and to carry on smiling as he’s watching my every move and is my guardian angel for life.’
The death of the popular teenager has seen more than 2,000 people join a Facebook group in memory of him, called ‘Rest in Peace Robbie Hale, we love you man’.
Donations can be made through Langdown and Trevett Funeral Directors, in Bridge Road, Woolston, Southampton, by calling 02380 448 466.
SCHOOL SHRINE TO ROBBIE IS MOVED TO NEARBY CHURCH
HUNDREDS of tributes left at a shrine outside Robbie’s school have been moved to a new location.
The day after his death, tributes appeared outside the entrance of Bay House School, in Gomer Lane, Gosport, where Robbie was a sixth-form student.
Dozens of tearful students gathered at the memorial to pay their respects before school began on January 10.
Mourners left tokens in memory of the 16-year-old including candles, flowers, cards and balloons.
Staff at the school, along with a group of Robbie’s friends, have now moved the shrine to St Mary’s Church, in Alverstoke.
Speaking about the loss of his best friend, 17-year-old Jack Ramshaw said: ‘Robbie lived life in the fast lane, always chatting, always handing out banter, but he always had a heart of gold.
‘He never changed – lighting up the room with his cheeky smile and the one-of a-kind personality he had.
‘This will live on in me and in everyone; he will always be my brother Robbie.’
One group of friends added their signatures to a Liverpool FC flag and shirt to celebrate Robbie’s love of football.
They also left a ball, boots and football socks.
Five of Robbie’s friends – Sam Fuller, Ollie Poynter, Hayden Alderson, Dan Lavin, and Amie Laming – met at school last week to compile a tribute to their friend.
It read: ‘Robbie was a true lad – a best friend to everyone and he always put others before himself.
‘He was the life and soul of the party.
‘Robbie was always the one to put a smile on everyone’s face and was always up for a laugh.
‘We will continue to love and support Robbie’s family.
‘He was, is, and always will be our best friend.
‘Our love for him will never fade.’
St Mary’s Church is open from 8am to 6pm for anyone who would like to visit.
FAMILY WILL GIVE ANNUAL TROPHY IN TEENAGER’S MEMORY
STUDENTS from Robbie’s school will compete in an annual football match to be set up in his honour.
The headteacher of Bay House School, Ian Potter, organised a committee of Robbie’s friends to work with his family and organise a memorial.
The students have decided to start an annual charity match to celebrate the life of the keen footballer.
The winning team will receive the Robbie Hale Trophy, which will be provided by his family.
Members of the school’s upper- sixth form will play against the lower-sixth form on January 26.
Robbie’s mum, Lorraine Hale, said: ‘I’d like to express my thanks to Mr Potter and the staff and students at Bay House who have been comforting to me and all of the family at this tragic time.
‘The match will be between the lower and upper-sixth form, for which we will be providing the Robbie Hale Trophy.’
School staff are also expected to take part in the football match, which will take place at Privett Park, the home of Gosport Borough FC.
The match will kick off at 2pm.
Organisers are hoping to raise money for two charities on the day – Help for Heroes and PAPYRUS.
Chosen by Robbie’s family, PAPYRUS is a charity involved with the prevention of suicide among young people.
It will also benefit from another fundraising event, a ‘wear red’ day, which students plan to hold at Bay House in the future.
The school has plans to plant a tree within their grounds in Robbie’s memory.