TOMMI Knight came into this world his family’s hero and left it Ballarat’s own little superhero.
The two-year-old was yesterday farewelled at St Aloysius Church in Redan, with 350 people releasing red, blue and yellow balloons into the sky while saying “superheroes live forever”.
Tommi’s bright-blue coffin was adorned with superhero stickers and the funeral opened to the strains of Peter Combe’s Mr Clicketty Cane.
His three grandparents, Noel Heard, Trish Knight and Marion Heard, all spoke about their little man, who passed away on Monday from Tay-Sachs Disease.
Trish spoke about the adventures Tommi had crammed into his 25 short months.
“We went fishing, watched Daddy jumping out of a plane, went to the circus and had lots of parties with family and friends,” Trish said.
She also spoke about the day he kicked to the end of the bath after his return from his first visit to Peru, and his determination to roll over.
“Just to do it once was amazing.
“Not a day will pass when I don’t remember everything you do, your smile, your laugh, even your cry.
“You will always be Daddy’s little buddy and Mummy’s little angel.”
Noel spoke about how Tommi’s parents, Jess Heard and Bob Knight, had been able to say goodbye in the best possible way.
“He was lying on his favourite beanbag, surrounded by hugs and cuddles and, finally, just a last smile,” Noel said.
He recalled fishing trips to the Barwon River and the look on Tommi’s face when Jess put his feet in the cold water to wash away the sand.
Noel also praised Jess and Bob.
“They left no stone unturned in their efforts to give Tommi every chance of survival.”
He also thanked the Ballarat community for their generosity.
“Tommi, you really are a superhero.”
Marion said the community had grown to love Tommi, and she recalled his courage and bravery in his last few hours.
“We all sat with Tommi and quietly prayed for a safe journey,” Marion said.
“At just two years of age, you wouldn’t have thought Tommi could teach me much, but he taught me unconditional love.”
Tommi’s cousins also put special items on his coffin, including stuffed toys, a Mickey Mouse from his trip to Disneyland, red angel wings, his superman suit and his favourite books.
Jess and her sister Amy also joined in as a group of family members sang Over The Rainbow, while Jess and Bob recited a poem they wrote for Tommi called Time for Bed.
Balloons adorned houses across Ballarat yesterday in Tommi’s memory.