Hundreds of people attended a thanksgiving service in Burgess Hill earlier today for ‘one in a million’ Elido Vargas.
The 15-year-old, who was a pupil at Burgess Hill Academy, tragically died earlier this month.
The Middy was invited to the service, which was held at St John’s Church in Burgess Hill.
Father Kevin O’Brien, vicar of the church, told the crowd that it was a ‘time to pray for Elido and his family and loved ones’.
He said: “We are gathered here today as family, friends and as a town to remember Elido, to cherish his memory and in words and silence to reflect upon the person we have loved and lost.
“Elido’s death is tragic, it is the cutting short of a young life, full of value, of love and friendship, of promise and boundless worth.
“This is not yet the time to attempt a celebration of Elido’s life, there will be another time for us to do that collectively and individually; now is the time to grieve him.
“We have all, I am sure, not only been immeasurably saddened and shocked by Elido’s death, but also shaken, challenged, bemused, turned upside-down.
“When someone takes their own life it causes waves of sadness throughout family, friends, acquaintances, and indeed across our whole community.”
He added: “Elido is now at peace; he is in the presence of a love, a forgiveness and healing that none of us have never known before. A peace that we hope and pray and trust will be ours too, one day.”
Tributes from friends were read out in church. One said: “He was the most amazing person. He could change someone’s day from awful to brilliant. He was one in a million.”
Another said: “Fly high to the stars and shine bright. I hope you are in heaven with a big smile across your face.”
Guests were given small wooden hearts to sign their names on and many lit candles.
Representatives from the Samaritans in Brighton also attended.
A full report with pictures will be in next week’s Middy, which is out on Thursday (July 5).
For emotional support, people can contact the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Samaritans website.