PROUDLY wearing their Pompey shirts, hundreds of people gathered today to remember a Pompey fan who lost his battle with cancer.
Dedicated supporter Elliott Smith died aged just 19, and this afternoon people from across the community gathered at Portchester Crematorium to pay tribute to him.
Among them were former Pompey players Jed Wallace and Patrick Agyemang, and former manager Andy Awford. Paul Robinson also paid his respects to the teenager.
Television presenter Fred Dinenage, who used to meet with Elliott every Sunday morning, paid tribute to the youngster during the service.
He said: ‘It’s such a privilege for me to be here. They call Mourinho the special one but for me, Elliott was the special one. What an inspiration he was.
‘Very rarely did he complain. He was lucky in as much as he had friends and family who loved him because it was very easy to love Elliott.
‘I first met Elliott in 2008 at the FA Cup semi-final against West Bromwich Albion.
‘We sat down and watched the game together. I was so inspired by his enthusiasm and his zest for life and his love of Pompey. That’s where the friendship began.
‘It was Elliott who re-inspired and reinvigorated my love for Pompey.’
As the service drew to a close, the Pompey chimes rang out, as people made their way out of the chapel.
The very reverend Paul Miles-Knight, who led the service, said: ‘We are here to celebrate somebody who in the space of less than two decades became something of a legend.
‘He is was somebody who will always be a part of the lives of a whole city community.’
Elliott, from Cosham, had a condition which causes tumours to grow on nerve ends and his mother died from the same cancer several years ago. He was cared for by his aunt, Elaine.
But he didn’t let it get in the way of his love for all things Pompey and last season he left his bed at Queen Alexandra Hospital to attend almost every Saturday home game. He got to know the players and backroom staff at the club well.
Jed Wallace said: ‘Whenever we lost, I would always go and see him and it would put things into perspective for me.
‘For someone the same age as me, it was always humbling to go and see him.
‘It just sums the city up, how all these people have come out to pay their respects in their Pompey shirts. It’s a proud place to be.’