More than 1,000 gather to pay tribute to ‘wee Oscar’ Knox

Mum Leona and dad Stephen pictured after the funeral service of 'Wee Oscar' Knox in Glengormley. 'Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Mum Leona and dad Stephen pictured after the funeral service of 'Wee Oscar' Knox in Glengormley. 'Picture By: Arthur Allison.

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

The ‘Mass of the Angels’ took place at St Bernard’s Church, Glengormley yesterday ahead of a private cremation.

More than 1,000 people attended the service to pay tribute to Oscar Knox, the boy who finally lost his battle with neuroblastoma on Thursday.

His mother Leona 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’.”

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

He said his 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.”