Hundreds attend tragic Dale Carlier's funeral
DESPITE the tears, the funeral of Dale Carlier ended in perhaps the most fitting tribute.
The selection of songs played over the speakers before the coffin was carried out of St Thomas of Canterbury Church included a selection of rap, R&B and house that friends and family thought most suitably summed up the 18-year-old's bubbly and magnetic personality.
A large turnout had been expected at the church following the explosive reaction to his sudden death on Twitter and Facebook.
But no one had predicted the numbers of mourners who attended the church on St Thomas Road last Friday.
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The main body of the church, in St Thomas Road, can hold 600 people. And yet with everyone seated, a long queue of mourners remained outside, waiting to file in and pay their last respects.
Such was the popularity of the former Brentwood County High student, who died in a car crash in Billericay in the early hours of Saturday, April 21, that the church had to open the upstairs gallery to allow everyone in.
Hundreds of young people and teenagers arrived to say goodbye to Dale, who lived in Coram Green, Hutton, with his parents Adam and Sharon, his brother Niall, 20, and sister Louise, 16.
Harvey Kennedy, one of Dale's best friends, who he met at Brentwood County High in Year 8, read a tribute at the service.
The 17-year-old said: "Immediately I noticed his Mohawk and thought I should stay away from this kid.
"Everything about Dale was different, especially his dress sense.
"He stood out from the crowd, which he loved. Being centre of attention was definitely one of his favourite things, especially when it came to girls.
"He always had that cheeky smile on his face and would give you the most childish high five and shout, 'I'm in'.
"Dale never took life seriously, always went with the flow and was happy whatever the group of boys were doing.
"If your day involved Dale, you knew you were going to have fun.
"Dale was one of my closest friends and for the time I was with him I never saw him without a smile on his face, being in his presence instantly made me and everyone around him laugh."
Dale was in his second year of studying public services at Chelmsford College with a view to becoming a policeman.
The West Ham fan died after the Ford Fiesta he was driving collided with a garden wall, flipping the vehicle before colliding with a telegraph pole.
Dozens of floral tributes have been moved from the crash site in Western Road, Billericay, to beneath a tree outside the family home.
His brother Niall, who works as an investment banker in London, was in the back seat of the car.
He suffered head and arm injuries.
The two other passengers were Dave Franklin, 17, and Tom Balchen, 20.
A statement read out on behalf of best friend Tom, who could not be at the funeral because of surgery, said: "He was more than a friend to me, he was more like a brother.
"I cannot remember a single moment when I saw Dale unhappy as he always had a smile on his face.
"Dale Carlier always looked out for me, saving me from various moments, and I cannot thank him enough for being there for absolutely everything
"It would be a lie if I did not say that in the time I've known him, he made me smile that extra bit more and made my life that extra little bit better. I just wish somehow that I can thank him for it.
"Dale will always be with be with me throughout everything I do and I truly do feel that it is an honour and a privilege to call him my best friend."
The family has received messages of support from Australia and from a US Navy SEAL.
After the service friends gathered briefly while the funeral cortege drove away.
Rashad Carim said: "I knew him from Brentwood County High and he lived about two seconds away from me.
"He was one in a million. Absolutely. And the funeral and the number of people who came, just showed how much he meant to everyone."
Chian Reynolds, 19, from Ongar, said: "I knew him through a friend. I was upset because I'd split up with my boyfriend and just five minutes of his time made all my worries go away.
"He was just amazing, I can't believe it's real. I just want it to be a joke, but it's not."
The funeral service, which lasted 60 minutes, included the hymns The Lord Is My Shepherd, Jerusalem, and I Vow To Thee My Country, and a passage from Ecclesiastes.
Collections at the funeral went to the Armed Forces charity Help For Heroes.
A private family cremation was held after the church service.