In pictures: Service held to celebrate life of Oscar Knox

The heartbroken mother of the five-year-old whose battle with cancer won the hearts of Ulster has told mourners how she and her husband had tried to explain to their darling son that he would be soon going to heaven.

More than 1000 people attended the service to pay tribute to the little boy who finally lost his battle with neuroblastoma on Thursday.

A ceremony to celebrate the life of Oscar Knox

A ceremony to celebrate the life of Oscar Knox

Leona Knox said: “We talked to him a few weeks ago about going on a journey to Neverland. We explained in Neverland there are no sore knees, no sore heads and no sore tummies.

“Oscar had always told us that when he grew up he wanted to drive a big green tractor instead of a car and he was so excited to hear that Old McDonald lives in Neverland and allowed people to drive his big green tractor if they were five and a half.”

She said she told him that the “best thing about Neverland was the biggest dodie shop in the world and that you got a new dodie every day”.

“When we got to this point in our story, Oscar took his dodie out of his mouth, had the biggest smile and said ‘This is the best day of my life’.”

Little Oscar Knox

Little Oscar Knox

His father Stephen spoke about their little boy’s brave battle with cancer and the great love he had for his little sister Isobella.

He said his little son was “kind, caring, sensitive, loving, smart, mischievous and unbelievably funny”.

The tributes by Oscar’s mother and father were met with standing ovations from mourners.

Among those paying their respects were Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Belfast boxers Carl Frampton and Paddy Barnes and award-winning restaurateur Michael Deane.

In his homily, Mass of the Angels celebrant Fr Damian McCaughan, said outside of the extraordinary moments of Oscar’s life “he was just Leona and Stephen’s wee boy”. “He was Izzy’s big brother,” he said.

“Across Northern Ireland, across the whole world, people have been touched by Oscar’s bravery and his joy,” he told mourners.

He added: “His story united people from all sides of the community, from all backgrounds, and across the world.

“And it brought out the best in them. And there’s a lesson there for us, if we really want to make a legacy for Oscar.”

Father McCaughan said: “He is still so close to us. He always will be.”