“Calvin and Cian we love you and miss you forever,” said Doug Punch, who struggled to hold back tears at a Mass of the Angels.
Calvin, aged 4, and 2-year-old Cian Ellard-Punch died a few days apart after sustaining injuries in the fire which broke out at the family home at Elm Park, Wilton, Cork in the early hours of Sunday last.
Their mother, Stacey Ellard, who was admitted to Cork University Hospital (CUH) with injuries following the blaze, managed to attend the Mass for her sons at the Church of the Way of the Cross in Togher with her partner Ricky Punch.
Fr Robert Brophy said the couple had been through a “horrendous nightmare” and described the past week as “a rollercoaster between hope and despair”.
“Words fail to capture the enormity and intensity of the pain you are now suffering,” he told the devastated parents.
He described Stacey’s recovery as “miraculous”.
The little boys, Fr Brophy said, will be remembered as “great mates” who had brought much joy and love to their parents, families and friends.
A yellow truck, a football, a Manchester United jersey and a school photo of Calvin were among the gifts brought to the altar in celebration of their lives.
Members of the congregation sobbed as the two small white coffins were carried from the church at the end of the Mass to the strains of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
Boys from Togher Boys National School, where Calvin was a pupil, performed a guard of honour.
The brothers were then taken for burial together at St Joseph’s Cemetery.
Among the flowers and teddies placed beside the coffins included a large red and white arrangement bearing the word “sons”.
Firefighters using breathing apparatus had rescued the two boys and their mother from an upstairs bedroom in the early hours of October 30 after brave neighbours, who smashed down a door and a window in an attempt to gain access to the house, were driven back by thick smoke.
All three were unconscious at the scene and were taken to the nearby CUH.
Cian was pronounced dead shortly after admission to the hospital on October 30. Calvin, who had just started school in September, died on Wednesday, November 2, at the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
It is believed the fire had started accidentally.