The funeral of Tommi Miller, the Chelsea fan whose service was paid for by the club’s captain John Terry, took place yesterday near to the youngster’s home in Cambridgeshire.
Former England captain Terry met the youngster when he did a tour of Stamford Bridge last summer and a family friend contacted the footballer on social media site Instagram to let him know of his passing and to ask if he’d contribute anything towards the service. Terry replied saying, ‘I will contact [the funeral director] to make the payment for the burial…It’s such a sad story’.
The funeral was football themed, with mourners asked to wear either Chelsea or Cambridge United shirts for the service. He was buried in a Chelsea-blue casket that had the club’s crest on it, with 100 blue balloons released and 100 blue roses imported from Holland in order to make the service ‘special’ for Tommi.
Mally Beaver, a family friend, made most of the arrangements for the funeral, having become friends with the Millers after meeting on the cancer ward of Addenbroke Hospital in Cambridge. She said, “My father battled leukaemia for just twelve weeks but Tommi fought it for five years. His family found times tough and we did everything we could to help them out”.
The Beaver family are from the travelling community and reached out to other travellers after Tommi’s death to get their help. Mally said, “Roo and Kevin [Tommi’s father] aren’t from the community, but everyone took them to their hearts”. Travellers from destinations as far flung as Australia, Canada and Scotland helped to raise more than £4000 to be put towards a ‘celebration of Tommi’s life’.
Tommi was diagnosed with leukaemia when he was just three years old and underwent a bone marrow transplant last month in an attempt to help him overcome the illness. Sadly it was unsuccessful and he died not long after the operation. Ruth, Tommi’s mother, said she was ‘very proud’ that John Terry remembered her son and was ‘overwhelmed’ by his gesture of offering money for the service.