Crowds gather to mourn 'tiny but tough' teenager Michael Stokes

Michael Stokes with Dermot Bannon on Room to Improve.

Hundreds gathered to pay their respects to 'tiny but tough' teenager Michael Stokes, whose funeral took place in Dublin this morning.

Michael, of Room to Improve fame, died on Saturday in Temple Street Children's Hospital after what has been described as a "tragic accident".

RTÉ's Room To Improve presenter Dermot Bannon pictured at the funeral of Michael Stokes at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Malahide,Co Dublin this morning. Pic: Stephen Collins/Photos.

The 15-year-old captured the hearts of the nation after appearing on Dermot Bannon's 'Room to Improve' on RTÉ, alongside his foster parents Ann and Barry Higgins.

Mr Bannon was amongst the mourners at this morning's ceremony at Church of the Sacred Heart in Malahide.

Parish priest Fr Martin Noone remembered him saying: "What Michael has done in a few short years many of us, including myself, will not achieve in a long, long life."

Eimear McGrath, a lifelong friend of Michael's also spoke fondly of "Michael the Warrior."

She said: "“Inside this little body was a giant-sized heart and an enormous capacity to love us as his life unfolded.

"Michael’s life is not to be mourned today but to be embraced and followed," she added.

Funeral of Michael Stokes at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Malahide,Co Dublin this morning. Photo: Stephen Collins/Photos

Ms McGrath paid tribute to Michael's parents John Paul and Siobhán for loving him enough to share him with foster parents Ann and Barry.

She said he had "two mammys and two daddys."

Ann was once Michael's teacher and along with her husband Barry, they took Michael into full time care just a few years ago.

After the funeral mass, the inspirational teenager was buried at Dardistown Cemetery.

Michael appeared on The Late Late Show earlier this year with step dad Barry to speak about his new home.

On the programme Michael said: "I have my own bed, I have my own desk. I love everything, everything is at my level."

On Instagram earlier this week, Mr Bannon paid tribute to the charasmatic teen.

He captioned a photograph of a beaming Michael: "What a privilege to have known this amazing young man."

- Digital Desk

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