Farewell to brave battler

By Lin Ferguson

Brendon Thompson-Garland, a much-loved boy aged 11, was laid to rest yesterday.

Hundreds packed his funeral service. There was standing room only as friends, whanau, school staff and hospital workers all pressed in to pay their respects to a smiling boy who had touched so many lives.

Brendon had lost his five-year battle with a brain tumour and died peacefully surrounded by whanau at Wanganui Hospital last Thursday.

His casket was nestled on the back of a white customised Holden ute with a motor that roared ... every small boy's dream.

An entire flower garden of lilies, roses, flaxes, ferns, cornflowers, carnations and poppies had been heaped across the casket, which was carried into the Cleveland Chapel by six young boy cousins.

Whanau sat close to the casket throughout the hour-long service. Brendon was the son of Mihi Thompson and Hayes Garland.

During the service, Brendon's Wanganui East School teacher Sarah Lourie spoke, saying teachers were always told not to get emotionally involved with their students.

"Well, that completely went out the window the day Brendon arrived in my class in 2011. He made such an impact on all of us. He wanted us all to know about his journey, his trips to Starship Hospital in Auckland, the people and other kids he had met ... he never, ever complained.

"Brendon was always bright and cheerful, we all loved him."

Ms Lourie said helping Brendon with his bucket list was special and every spectacular activity had been celebrated by the whole class with him.

"I told my students this morning they were too young to have lost a classmate, especially our wonderful Brendon."

A family member said Brendon's big, warm smile would ever be remembered.

"You were our boy, you brought us all together, you united us all ... thank you, Brendon."

Brendon was taken to his final resting place at the Aramoho Cemetery.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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