Belfast Telegraph

Oscar Knox: Hundreds of lanterns light Wee Oscar's journey to 'Neverland'

By David Whelan

Second star on the right and straight on until morning were the directions followed by Izzy Knox as she watched hundreds of Chinese lanterns accompanying her fearless big brother Oscar on his 'journey to Neverland'.

On Sunday night the Knox family visited the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice, where Oscar had been permanently moved when his condition deteriorated, and joined in the tribute by posting the image of Izzy pointing to the stars on Oscar's Twitter page.

On an emotion-filled day more than 1,000 mourners at the five-year-old's funeral at St Bernard's Church in Glengormley, listened tearfully as his mother Leona explained how she and her husband Stephen had tried to prepare Oscar for his trip to heaven by talking about Peter Pan and Neverland.

"We talked to him a few weeks ago about going on a journey to Neverland.

"We explained in Neverland there are no sore knees, no sore heads and no sore tummies," she said.

"Oscar had always told us that when he grew up he wanted to drive a big green tractor instead of a car and he was so excited to hear that Old McDonald lives in Neverland and allowed people to drive his big green tractor if they were five and a half."

She said she told him that the "best thing about Neverland was the biggest dodie shop in the world and that you got a new dodie every day".

In a moving tribute to the star of Belfast, the City Hall was also lit up in the blue and yellow colours of Team Oscar and the night sky was speckled with lights as the city staged a final send off to 'Wee' Oscar.

Tributes have flooded in for Oscar and his family following the announcement of his death on Thursday, including messages from across the globe.

Another poignant image on the page was from Philadelphia.

There, a group spelt out Oscar's name in candles at the bottom of the famous steps used in the Rocky series of films, to emphasise Oscar's influence as a fighter.

Oscar's mother Leona, who used social media to raise money for Oscar's treatment from when he was first diagnosed with the rare form of children's cancer neuroblastoma in 2008, wrote on Twitter: "Watching the lanterns from Children's Hospice, it's amazing!"

Since his death more than £32,000 has been donated to the Northern Ireland’s Children’s Hospice and the Children's Haematology Unit at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, in lieu of flowers alone.

Oscar and his family have raised nearly £600,000 via their original campaign to raise funds for his treatment and later in the campaign to help other children in Northern Ireland.

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