Funeral takes place of brave Dempsey Ballantyne (8) after cancer battle
The funeral has taken place of inspirational Belfast child Dempsey Courtney-Ballantyne who died after a battle with cancer.
Dempsey, from the Shankill area of the city, touched many hearts as she courageously fought cancer of the spine over the past three years, inspiring people to raise funds to pay for her treatment.
But despite the efforts, the eight-year-old passed away peacefully in the Royal Victoria Hospital last week surrounded by her family.
She is survived by three older brothers and a sister.
Dempsey was a member of the Shankill Star Flute Band and they flanked her pink coffin which was carried in a horse drawn carriage.
The service took place at New Life City Church in Northumberland Street.
Parents Lynn McInally and Robert Courtney, who are born again Christians, speaking previously said that Dempsey remained "compassionate and courageous" throughout, adding that they would take comfort in that she is "now with the Lord".
A pupil at Black Mountain Primary, Dempsey was in P5, but had missed a lot of school as she underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
She received the dreadful diagnosis in February 2014, and was left paralysed after undergoing an operation to remove the tumour.
In August of that year enough funds had been raised to send Dempsey to the University of Florida Hospital to undergo proton treatment.
She amazed doctors there by learning to walk again.
Lynn said: "The people we have met, the hearts that she touched - it's amazing. I am blessed to be her earthly mummy, but she belongs to God and I know that she is in a special place now, where I will one day spend eternity with her.
"It's hard on people's hearts to accept, but she did not lose her battle, there was victory from the beginning."