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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 August 2005, 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
Thousands pay tribute to Anthony
Mourners were asked to wear football or basketball shirts
The family asked for the funeral to be a joyous celebration
About 3,000 mourners have attended the funeral of murdered teenager Anthony Walker in Liverpool.

The 18-year-old died after he was attacked with an axe in a park in Huyton, Merseyside, in July.

His family wanted the service, which was held at Liverpool Cathedral and also broadcast on a city centre screen, to be a joyous celebration of his life.

The service opened with tributes from Anthony's friend, William Eborall, and his godfather, Pastor Hughes Redhead.

Mr Eborall described Anthony as "one of those special people that graces your life".

"I always felt honoured that he chose me as a friend because Anthony was popular with everyone, nobody had a bad word to say for him - yet he chose to be friends with me, the geek of the year."

Anthony Walker
Basketballs sent by the public were placed in Anthony's coffin

"I will feel lucky forever knowing that I met him and to know we called each other friends," he said.

One of the teenager's favourite songs, Love Shine a Light by Katrina and the Waves, was sung and pictures of Anthony were shown on a big screen inside the cathedral.

Pastor Redhead passed on thanks from Anthony's family.

"The family says thank you, and they're greatly touched, to the people who shed tears, gave words of sympathy, flowers, cards, and even those neighbours and those hotels who offered accommodation to family and friends," he said.

"But to ensure that no other family has to go through this pain, today's tears must be transformed into action tomorrow.

"Words of sympathy today must lead to a vision for Merseyside in which the Walker family and other black families can live and work in any part of Merseyside without harassment, abuse or attacks."

Family members arrive for the service
About 3,000 people attended the service at Liverpool Cathedral

Thursday's funeral was led by the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones.

The Dean of Liverpool said forgiveness should flow through the service.

Pastor Diana Stacey, from the Grace Family Church of which Anthony was a member, said: "Anthony didn't mind being different, in fact he enjoyed it.

"He had the depth of character that could stand out in a crowd, and his integrity showed that."

The first 14 rows of the cathedral were taken up by Anthony's extended family and friends, including his mother, Gee, and father, Steve.

Family support

The Walker family asked mourners to wear football shirts in his honour. Among those on display were the colours of England, Brazil, Liverpool FC, Everton FC and Arsenal.

There was a private burial for family members only at a nearby cemetery.

Members of the Manchester-based Mothers Against Violence and Carisma groups, which have campaigned against gun and gang violence, were understood to be present at the funeral.

Claire Barlow, of Carisma, said: "Through our presence at the funeral, we want to support both the family and friends of Anthony as well as the community workers and the agencies who have a role in bringing the perpetrators of this senseless crime to justice."

Church leaders from the black community led thousands in prayer up and down the country in special services to remember the teenager.

Paul Taylor, 20, and Michael Barton, 17, both of Huyton, are in custody awaiting trial charged with Anthony's murder.

They are also accused of grievous bodily harm.

An eighth person arrested in connection with the attack was released on police bail on Wednesday.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
William Eborall pays tribute to his friend Anthony



SEE ALSO:
In pictures: Anthony's funeral
25 Aug 05 |  In Pictures
Funeral service 'full of colour'
25 Aug 05 |  Merseyside
Soccer shirts for Walker funeral
23 Aug 05 |  Merseyside
Police arrest eighth axe suspect
23 Aug 05 |  Merseyside
Cathedral funeral for axe victim
17 Aug 05 |  Merseyside
Thousands at vigil for teenager
05 Aug 05 |  Merseyside


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