Cambridgeshire

John Terry Chelsea fan Tommi Miller's football funeral held

Terry, Tommi and other Chelsea players Image copyright Ruth Miller
Image caption John Terry met Tommi last year and offered to pay for his funeral after being told of the young Chelsea fan's death

The football-themed funeral of a boy who died from cancer has taken place after Chelsea captain John Terry paid for it.

Mourners wore Chelsea and Cambridge United colours to celebrate the life of Tommi Miller, who was eight.

Terry met Chelsea fan Tommi last year, and when he was told of the boy's death he volunteered to pay for the service.

Tommi was laid to rest near his Cambridge home in a Chelsea-blue casket bearing the club logo.

Image copyright Courtesy of Tawney Bianca Toogood
Image caption Chelsea and Cambridge United fan Tommi was eight when he died after a five-year battle with leukaemia

Tommi, who was diagnosed with leukaemia aged three, died last month after a bone marrow transplant proved unsuccessful.

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Family friend Tawney Bianca Toogood contacted Terry on Instagram to tell him the boy he had been photographed with had died.

When she explained the family could not afford the funeral they wanted for their son, the former England captain got in touch with the funeral parlour and covered the full £1,600 costs.

Image copyright Family
Image caption The funeral service featured Chelsea blue roses from Holland and the release of blue and white balloons into the sky

Tommi's mother Ruth said she was "overwhelmed" by the gesture and "very proud" the footballer - one of her son's favourite players - remembered him.

Most of the arrangements for Tommi's funeral were made by Mrs Toogood's mother Mally Beaver, and sister Chelsea.

Blue balloons

The families became friends after meeting on the cancer ward at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

"My father battled leukaemia for just 12 weeks, but Tommi fought it for five years," Mrs Beaver said.

"His family found times tough and we did everything we could to help them out."

Image copyright Tawney Bianca Toogood
Image caption John Terry replied to Tawney Bianca Toogood on Instagram to make the arrangements to pay for Tommi's funeral

When Tommi died the Beaver family, from the travelling community, reached out to other travellers for help.

"Roo and Kevin [Tommi's father] aren't from the community, but everyone took them to their hearts," Mrs Beaver said.

Travellers from as far afield as Canada, Australia, Scotland, Lancaster and Harlow raised more than £4,000 to help towards "a celebration of Tommi's life".

Image copyright Ruth Miller
Image caption Tommi, who was diagnosed with leukaemia aged three, died last month after an unsuccessful attempt was made to carry out a bone marrow transplant

As well as the specially-made casket, Mrs Beaver arranged for 100 blue balloons to be released at the service, and had 100 blue roses brought over from Holland "to make it special for him".

The extra money raised will be put towards a headstone for Tommi's grave.

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