Hundreds attend funeral of Whaddon teenager Martin Holder
AS his favourite metal songs echoed through the chapel, the friends and family of Martin Holder gathered to say a tearful last goodbye to the young musician.
More than 200 people packed into Cheltenham Crematorium yesterday to pay their respects to the 16-year-old from Whaddon, who died earlier this month at his home in Pennine Road.
The black guitar he used to play and write music with for his band Within These Walls stood in front of his coffin, below a framed photograph of his smiling face.
Friends of the former Cleeve School and Gloucestershire College pupil fondly remembered Martin as someone who was always smiling as they paid tribute to him at the service.
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Addressing Martin, his friend Danielle said: "You always had a smile on your face. I remember you as a kind and caring person."
She added: "Martin has been taken into God's arms now. I hope heaven is good and there are lots of musical things to do up there."
Martin's mum Marj Hamlet had said she believed he took his own life, but she struggled to understand why.
Speaking at the service, his friend and bandmate Jon Blackwell said: "None of us know why Martin thought this was necessary and nobody ever will."
He added: "I will always cherish all the times we had with him. I loved him like a brother and always will. He will be forever in our hearts and memories."
Wreaths spelling out 'son' and 'brother' flanked Martin's coffin in the hearse, and, as he was carried into the chapel, These Days by the Foo Fighters washed over the following mourners. In a handwritten tribute placed by the flowers, Martin's 13-year-old sister Charlie said she could not understand why he had died.
She said she was proud to be his sister and would always remember the fun they had together.
A poem selected by Martin's family was read out at the service, and included the verses:
"You left us far too early/ Before your time, it seems/ And now you'll never have the chance/ To fulfil all those dreams. However hard it is though/ We'll take comfort in the thought/ Of all the memories we have/ And the happiness you brought."
A celebration of Martin's life was held at the King's Arms pub in Prestbury following the funeral.
Since Martin died, his bandmates have played a memorial gig in his honour and his family and friends have released Chinese lanterns in tribute to him.
His family said they would like to put up a sculpture somewhere in the local community as a memorial to Martin.
Martin was studying forensic computing and hoped to one day work for GCHQ.
He was well known in Prestbury as a paperboy for the Echo.