Thursday, August 26, 2010

Superhero funeral for little Lucas Ward...


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Superhero funeral fo rlittle  Lucas  Ward...

Four-year-old Lucas Ward will make his final journey dressed as his favourite superhero, Spiderman, and wearing Buzz Lightyear boots.

The preschooler, whose body was found yesterday in the Waimata River after being missing for 10 days, will lie at Tikapa Marae in Ruatoria before a private family burial.

The boy was honoured yesterday as schoolboys gathered on the riverbank to perform a stirring haka.

"It was magnificent," Lucas's great-uncle Brian Hunt said.

"Our family is devastated, absolutely devastated. We are coping together, coming together as a family, and we will go from there."

Plans were under way for a public memorial service but details were yet to be finalised, said Mr Hunt.

"This community has gone beyond any expectation. I am from Wellington and I have never seen this sort of bonding before.

"It has been really amazing the way everyone has come together to support us. We really appreciate it and we really feel for the community as well.

"Everywhere we go, we pick up the vibes and energy, and we feel the grief. This has affected everyone."

The final glimmer of hope that Lucas would be found alive was extinguished yesterday when a kayaker discovered his body at midday.

Lucas was found only 400m upstream from his grandparents' Graham Road home, 10 days after he went missing.

The kayaker went to a riverside home to ring police, who recovered Lucas's body and broke the news to the family, Gisborne police area commander Inspector Sam Aberahama said.

"It absolutely gives that closure to the family and to the community as well. The outpouring of support and grief from the community was amazing. Lucas was the nation's little boy for a while there.

"This is an incredibly distressing time and our thoughts are with them and their extended family as they grieve for their little boy."

Police divers had not searched the water where Lucas was found but land Search and Rescue crews and Coastguard boats had scoured the area, he said.

"The divers searched about 300 metres upstream from the jetty but Lucas could well have moved within the water before he rested where he was found," Mr Aberahama said

There will be a debrief for the police, search and rescue crews, and all those involved in the search within the next few weeks.

A post-mortem will be conducted and the case referred to the coroner. Lucas's body was expected to be returned to the family today.

Lucas leaves behind parents Jessica and Damon Ward, and siblings Alex, Raegan and Sheridan.

No rahui was required for Waimata River but kaumatua Temple Isaacs yesterday blessed Lucas, his family and the river.
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