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Hundreds of mourners wearing red line the streets for funeral of Olly Stephens

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Hundreds have lined the streets wearing red at the funeral for an autistic schoolboy stabbed to death in a park in broad daylight, as his father paid tribute to ‘a loving, caring, funny soul who would stick up for the underdog’.

Stuart Stephens, father of 13-year-old Oliver Lucas Stephens, said his son ‘touched so many lives without either us or himself knowing it’ during a service at Reading Crematorium today.

The teenager, known to friends as Olly, was fatally attacked at Bugs Bottom fields, Emmer Green, in Reading, on January 3.

A 13-year-old girl, a 13-year-old boy and a 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named because of their age, will go on trial in the summer accused of murder.

During the funeral, Mr Stephens described how Olly’s family felt ‘blessed’ to have known him, adding: ‘The time we shared with Oliver is our most precious gift.’

Members of the public place red roses on the hearse of Olly Stephens as the funeral procession slows at All Hallows Road, Reading

Members of the public place red roses on the hearse of Olly Stephens as the funeral procession slows at All Hallows Road, Reading

The teenager, known to friends as Olly, was fatally attacked at Bugs Bottom fields, Emmer Green, in Reading, on January 3

The teenager, known to friends as Olly, was fatally attacked at Bugs Bottom fields, Emmer Green, in Reading, on January 3

Flowers and Haribo sweets in the hearse as the funeral procession carrying the coffin of teenager Olly Stephens arrives at Reading Crematorium

Flowers and Haribo sweets in the hearse as the funeral procession carrying the coffin of teenager Olly Stephens arrives at Reading Crematorium

The streets were lined with people today as friends, family and neighbours came out in force to watch Olly's funeral procession

The streets were lined with people today as friends, family and neighbours came out in force to watch Olly’s funeral procession

The brightly covered coffin, adorned with pictures of sweets, was accompanied by floral bouquets resembling a rainbow, a burger and a cola can, while another arrangement carried the message: 'Love you bro'

The brightly covered coffin, adorned with pictures of sweets, was accompanied by floral bouquets resembling a rainbow, a burger and a cola can, while another arrangement carried the message: ‘Love you bro’

Hundreds lined the streets to pay their respects, throwing red roses as the funeral procession made its way to the crematorium

Hundreds lined the streets to pay their respects, throwing red roses as the funeral procession made its way to the crematorium

Stuart Stephens, father of 13-year-old Oliver Lucas Stephens, said his son 'touched so many lives without either us or himself knowing it' during a service at Reading Crematorium today

Stuart Stephens, father of 13-year-old Oliver Lucas Stephens, said his son ‘touched so many lives without either us or himself knowing it’ during a service at Reading Crematorium today

Mr Stephens said: ‘Olly was our enigma, a square peg in a round hole, a puzzle to be solved, a teenager.

‘We loved, nurtured, and cherished him. We never gave up. We used to talk about his autistic ‘superpower’ as we called it.

‘Would he be a techno whiz, a musician, artist, or mathematical prodigy? Turns out his gift was the power of love.

‘All of you here are testimony to this, we have all come for Olly. Oliver touched so many lives without either us or himself knowing it, we now know.’

Hundreds lined the streets to pay their respects, throwing red roses as the funeral procession made its way to the crematorium.

The brightly covered coffin, adorned with pictures of sweets, was accompanied by floral bouquets resembling a rainbow, a burger and a cola can, while another arrangement carried the message: ‘Love you bro.’

Mounted Thames Valley Police officers accompanied the hearse for the final section of the journey.

His father told mourners his son would be ’embarrassed’ by the fuss.

Mr Stephens added: ‘Olly was so full of promise, goals, and ambitions.

‘We would dream of winning the lottery just so we could spend more time together and help other people improve their lives.

Members of the public wearing red throw red roses as the funeral procession carrying the coffin of teenager Olly Stephens arrives at Reading Crematorium

Members of the public wearing red throw red roses as the funeral procession carrying the coffin of teenager Olly Stephens arrives at Reading Crematorium

During the funeral, Mr Stephens described how Olly's family felt 'blessed' to have known him, adding: 'The time we shared with Oliver is our most precious gift'

During the funeral, Mr Stephens described how Olly’s family felt ‘blessed’ to have known him, adding: ‘The time we shared with Oliver is our most precious gift’

The funeral procession of Olly Stephens slows at All Hallows Road, Reading to receive floral tributes, before making its way to Reading Crematorium

The funeral procession of Olly Stephens slows at All Hallows Road, Reading to receive floral tributes, before making its way to Reading Crematorium

Crowds of people dressed in red and holding red roses turned out to pay tribute to the tragic 13-year-old killed last month

Crowds of people dressed in red and holding red roses turned out to pay tribute to the tragic 13-year-old killed last month

The coffin was decorated in bright colours, with a floral tribute reading 'love u bro', as it passed through Reading today

The coffin was decorated in bright colours, with a floral tribute reading ‘love u bro’, as it passed through Reading today

‘Although this stage of his life was awkward for him, we felt he was finally accepting his autism on the morning of his passing.

‘We had fought this battle and won, but the war was yet to come.’

Mr Stephens also thanked the community and the emergency services for their support following Olly’s death, which he said ‘shattered our lives with the force of a baby rhino’.

He said: ‘Please remember Olly as a loving, caring, funny soul who would stick up for the underdog, who would never back down from injustice, prejudice, inequality or cruelty.

‘We will, God bless you son.

‘Be a wolf and not a sheep, float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, fly so very high.’

The inquest into Olly’s death will open on Monday, February 8.

Family’s tribute to ‘loving, caring’ Olly is read at schoolboy’s funeral

Our boy Oliver.

Olly left the house with a spring in his step, laughter in his heart and a ‘love you’ to mum.

We will remember him this way.

What happened next was the stuff of nightmares, a knock on the door shattered our lives with the force of a baby rhino.

No one should have to receive news like this or deal with a situation as horrific.

But we are blessed, the time we shared with Oliver is our most precious gift.

Olly was our enigma, a square peg in a round hole, a puzzle to be solved, a teenager.

We loved, nurtured, and cherished him. We never gave up.

Olly and I would have snippets of conversation about music, culture, travel, and his future.

With his autism, I was often left wondering if any of it had sunk in. I shouldn’t have worried.

The response from the school, his friends and community has proved he did take it in, but in his own way.

We used to talk about his autistic ‘superpower’ as we called it.

Would he be a techno whiz, a musician, artist, or mathematical prodigy?

Turns out his gift was the power of love.

All of you here are testimony to this, we have all come for Olly.

Oliver touched so many lives without either us or himself knowing it, we now know.

Olly would be embarrassed by all this fuss and question it in his own way.

I always spoke to him about life as a journey, it’s what you do that counts, it is the choices you make that determines your path.

‘If you don’t make mistakes, you are not learning,’ I would tell him.

Olly would always listen to my music even from an early age.

A musical journey is a personal one, but you can share it with who you choose to along the way.

He kept his to himself but let us in every now and then.

Belting out Wonderwall at the top of our voices in the car after he had just ‘introduced’ me to the latest ‘grind’ tune by way of reprieve.

That was his way of sharing moments.

Olly was so full of promise, goals, and ambitions.

We would dream of winning the lottery just so we could spend more time together and help other people improve their lives.

Although this stage of his life was awkward for him, we felt he was finally accepting his autism on the morning of his passing.

We had fought this battle and won, but the war was yet to come.

I remember watching him sleep recently, filling the length of his bed with his frame, floppy hair, and olive skin – beautiful.

I felt so much love for him in that moment it made my heart miss a beat.

A mental picture forever mine.

Olly was overjoyed at the news of a Stephens family pregnancy: ‘I’m not going to be the baby any more!’ he exclaimed.

Olly will always be our baby boy, never becoming a man, never to rear a family, find true love, build a future, to move away from home (which we had forbidden, couldn’t bear the thought of either children moving away) and to travel the world.

Grandchildren we will never meet.

Olly wanted children, lots of them he always said!

A whisper of a promise unfulfilled.

We are at a loss but so thankful for the time we had with him.

We are so grateful to all of his friends that are suppling us with pictures, videos, and music that he liked, more pieces to the Olly puzzle.

Amanda and Emilia have been so incredibly strong, I could not have done this without them.

Our family, neighbours, friends, work, the local community, St Barnabus Church, the street pastors and my rugby and angling communities have all been so supportive and we thank each and every one of you.

The police force and emergency services have been exemplary, so professional, so caring.

We are stronger together.

These people really do care about our welfare and wellbeing, this traumatic time has highlighted this to us, and this message needs to be shared.

I was secretly hoping Oliver would join the police force, but he had other ideas, property development, becoming a millionaire, driving a fast car and owning a cool home.

We would also like to thank anyone who has cared for him over the years. There have been so many.

Please remember Olly as a loving, caring, funny soul who would stick up for the underdog, who would never back down from injustice, prejudice, inequality or cruelty.

We will, God bless you son.

Be a wolf and not a sheep, float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, fly so very high.

We love you Olly.

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