'Our hearts ache': Archie Gouldson farewelled by hundreds
THE white lilies atop Archie Gouldson's coffin were joined by a green, yellow and purple Mighty Ducks jersey.
Then there was the blue and grey of a Churchie blazer.
A Brothers jersey.
A photo from a happier time.
And a tube of Marc Anthony Grow Long shampoo.
Mementos of the golden-haired boy they'd lost.
The chapel at Churchie was as full as restrictions allowed.
More than a thousand watched a live stream of Saturday's service online, while outside in the school grounds and spilling onto Oaklands Pde in East Brisbane, hundreds gathered to pay their respects.
Born on August 11, 2003, Archie Hugh Gouldson was taken from the world, alongside 10-year-old Jack Cameron, in a tragic 4WD crash on a rural property near Roma on May 24.
Archie's father Faran Gouldson paid tribute to his son, saying all he'd been able to do in the weeks since his passing was focus on the 16 years, nine months, and sixteen days he'd had with him.
"Sifting through the 20,000-odd photos I have in my phone was somewhat of a crippling experience, but one of the most overwhelming thoughts I had after having done it was how much we've done together," he said.
"Everyone here and all those who knew Archie are the lucky ones; lucky because we experienced life with Archie and shared all the wonderful things he brought along with him."
Archie was the best son any mother or father could have, Faran said.
"The best grandson, and the best big brother.
"You were engaging, you were intelligent, you were very considerate, you were well mannered, you were a hell of a lot of fun, and you were downright funny.
"Our hearts ache.
"You have been stolen from us on the cusp of what was going to be an amazing life.
"But I am so very, very lucky.
"We are all so lucky to have shared your life, and to have made our lives so much better because you were in it.
"Rest now, our Archie, I can't wait to see you again, to ski, to surf, to laugh, and cry, and to wrap my arms around you again.
"I'm so very lucky."
Archie was carried out of the chapel to the sounds of The Jackson 5's I Want You Back, through a guard of honour formed by the Churchie boys.
His parents planted one last kiss on his coffin.
There was the blessing.
And then his schoolmates gave him one final Churchie roar, their voices echoing across the suburb.