There were heartbreaking scenes in Lisburn on Monday as a nine-year-old boy who helped pioneer an innovative school robotics project was laid to rest after a long battle with leukaemia.
Charlie Craig, a pupil at St Joseph’s Primary School in Lisburn, passed away at the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children on Friday.
Earlier this year, little Charlie piloted a robotics scheme by the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity designed to help him take part in everyday school life.
He was able to use an iPad to control a robot at his desk so he could take part using a live video link.
His grandad, Des Eastwood, described him as “a highly intelligent, strong-willed, kind, creative, good humoured, determined little boy” at his funeral.
Addressing mourners at St Patrick’s Church, Mr Eastwood said Charlie was a “force of nature”
“He put all his trust in God, telling his mum Cliona on many occasions about conversations he had with God,” the heartbroken grandfather added.
“Charlie suffered a lot with Leukaemia and the ravaging after-effects of surgeries and procedures. He navigated endless medications alongside modern day miracles.
“Spending many months in hospitals both in Belfast and Bristol, at times enduring horrendous pain and discomfort, he was not one to complain.
“He spent his time wisely, engaging in many activities - one of which with his sister Nancy was writing and publishing their now famous joke-book which you will find on sale later with all proceeds going to charity.”
Mr Eastwood continued: “God had a plan for Charlie. In his short life, he has achieved so, so much.
“To date, many charities have benefited from fundraisers in his name, many prayers have echoed across the globe and so many more lives have been touched by Charlie Craig.
His legacy will live long, his work and siffering in this life are over.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Charlie is in heaven enjoying all the things that were denied to him in this life.”
After the service, little Charlie was buried in his white coffin at Blaris Cemetery, Lisburn.