‘we-will-carry-on-your-legacy-forever’: the-wanted’s-tom-parker-remembered-as-hundreds-attend-emotional-funeral

‘We will carry on your legacy forever’: The Wanted’s Tom Parker remembered as hundreds attend emotional funeral

As the sun shines down bright on the street outside Notting Hill’s St Francis of Assisi church, hundreds of people stand in silent unison having gathered to pay their respects to The Wanted star Tom Parker. But when the opening drums of Oasis’ Live Forever – a song which has gained new meaning after it was revealed to be the track Tom listened to as he passed away – begin to play out, there wasn’t a dry eye left amongst the crowd.

At the age of 33, the Bolton-born popstar died on March 30 following a battle with cancer. His death came just 17 months after he was first diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in 2020.

READ MORE: The Wanted’s Siva Kaneswaran praises Tom Parker’s ‘big Boltonian heart’ in emotional funeral tributes

He received the tragic news whilst his wife Kelsey was pregnant with their second child, Bodhi, who is now one. The couple, who married in 2018, also shared two-year-old daughter, Aurelia.

His funeral today (April 20) saw friends, family and fans from all over unite to mark their respects and celebrate his life. Ahead of a private service, Kelsey led a cortege featuring three black horses through Petts Wood, south-east London.

Kelsey Parker at the funeral of her husband and The Wanted star Tom Parker

Wearing dark black sunglasses and a glittery blazer, she clung on to family members as she walked down the street past those lining the streets. Receptionist Chloe Mayne, 25, from Plumstead, was just one of the self-professed ‘super-fans’ of the late singer who turned up for the procession and to see the service, which was beamed out on screens outside at Kelsey’s request.

She said she saw the late singer during The Wanted’s reunion tour last month, and didn’t think it would be one of his last appearances. Chloe explained: “The day he died it really hit me. To be fair I don’t think anyone was expecting it that quickly, I thought he’d have at least another Christmas and maybe next year.”

Stefanie Marek, 29, who flew in from Austria on Tuesday to witness the funeral procession, said: “I came in from London Gatwick yesterday because I saw the announcement Kelsey made and I saw (Tom) in Nottingham not too long ago and I can’t believe he is gone, so I thought I might as well come out here and pay respects to him and give my condolences.”

She added: “I was expecting to be early and I didn’t expect to be surrounded by so many people, it’s amazing how much of an impact Parker has had. It’s amazing to be surrounded by so much love. I hope it shows Kelsey and the kids how much he was loved.”

Flowers spelling out the word “Daddy” adorned the side of the carriage while a flowered sign that spelled the word “Tom” in red roses was attached to the front. Outside the church, flowers spelling out the words “Glad You Came”, the title of The Wanted’s 2011 number one hit, could also be seen.

During the emotional service, Kelsey told gathers that Tom had ‘taught their children how to be brave’ and that she and Tom ‘lived a 1000 lives’ in their 13 years together. She added that he would still be alive if ‘love alone could have saved him’.

“You’ve shown our children how to be brave, courageous and strong,” she shared. “Even in our darkest days, we tried to stay positive. Positive Parker’s forever. [The children] will always know how much you loved them. And let’s be honest, they now have the best guardian angel looking over them through life and so have I. We will carry on your legacy forever.”

Also in attendance at the ceremony were Tom’s The Wanted bandmates Max George, Nathan Sykes, Siva Kaneswaran, and Jay McGuinness, who acted as pallbearers. Bandmate Max told attendees during a speech: “I could actually hear him saying, ‘It’s about time’, as he carried us for the last 12 years. Tom was always a brother, he made such an impact from the start. His love for music and striving for success outmatched all of us.”

ORPINGTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 20: Fans mourn as they watch the funeral service for Tom Parker on screens outside St Francis of Assisi church on April 20, 2022 in Orpington, England. British singer Tom Parker, a member of popular boy band The Wanted, died at the age of 33 after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Fans watched the funeral service on screens outside St Francis of Assisi church

Having launched onto the music scene in 2009, the five-piece band had two UK number one hits and four top ten albums, including a greatest hits collection released in November. Siva, meanwhile, hailed Parker’s “big Boltonian heart” before adding: “He was never afraid to stand up for what was right, no matter the risk.”

One The Wanted fan said it was “a real privilege” to be watching the service from outside the church. Laura Chalk, 24, from Essex, said: “I still don’t believe that Tom is gone; he has such a special place in my heart. Being here is helping me let go a bit, I think it is nice for Kelsey and his kids to see such a crowd of his fans and show how much he meant to the world.

“I was very young and I used to have Top Of The Pops magazine, there was this new band The Wanted and I didn’t really have internet – my parents were quite strict – and I heard All Time Low and from then I have been The Wanted crazy.”

On seeing Tom on stage during the reunion tour, Laura added: “When he came out I had tears gushing, it was so nice to see them all together and I didn’t even think about how long it would be and I was just living in that moment. It was just the best, most incredible night.

Kelsey Parker follows a horse-drawn hearse during a procession through Orpington before the funeral service

“I am a big fan. Honestly it is a real privilege to be here. It is special because I feel like a funeral should be private, immediate family and friends, but I feel The Wanted fans are a family and always have been and I know Tom really loved every single one of his.”

In her final words, Kelsey told her husband: “Remember I love you one more than you can ever say. You will always be my angel Tommy boy in the sky. If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. I love you, babe, from your babe.”

After her eulogy, Kelsey kissed her husband’s coffin goodbye and laid a single white flower on top. She then whispered ‘I love you’ before Tom was carried out to The Wanted’s hit song Gold Forever.