HUNDREDS of mourners have gathered to say their final goodbye to an extraordinary little boy who will be remembered for his courage, his positivity and his smile.

Luke Bell’s bravery touched countless lives across the world who were inspired by his resilience through the toughest time of his short life.

The Darlington schoolboy captured the imagination of his friends, loved ones and strangers determined to make Luke’s life as full as possible despite a terminal cancer diagnosis.

Luke, who loved to play, watch rugby and spend time with family, was told in April 2017 that he had high risk neuroblastoma – a rare childhood cancer that give him little chance of survival.

His family were heartbroken to learn that the cancer had spread and he was given just weeks to live last month. Gruelling chemotherapy had not improved Luke’s health and his family desperately sought help to raise £100,000 to fly their son to Barcelona to take part in a therapy trial.

Cruelly, Luke did not make it to Spain and he died on December 23, 2018, aged just eight years old.

Today, mourners of all ages filled every pew and stood in every corner of Holy Family Church, in Cockerton, Darlington, to pay their respects to Luke and celebrate his life.

Dozens donned every shade of green and blue at the Bell family’s request to make sure Luke’s favourite colours on show throughout his funeral.

Luke’s father, Mark Bell, gave a touching eulogy in memory of his son, drawing comparisons between his life and the game of rugby that he loved so much.

He said: “Luke took the field a little bit earlier than expected – he was born at 29 weeks.

“With a thirst for knowledge, he moved his way through school and he also loved to be around people.

“Whether it was classmates, friends or family, Luke was always putting a smile on people’s faces and always making people laugh in all situations.

“Luke’s outlook was always very positive, right until the end. He taught us all a great deal of strength and the privilege of life.

“This last couple of weeks have been very difficult. Our family has been left with a huge hole that cannot be filled, but we are immensely proud of Luke and all he achieved.

“Finally, there is a saying that I will always remember for Luke – never above you, never below you, always beside you.”

Luke’s coffin was brought into the church to the Stereophonics’ Dakota, before Father David Russell welcomed the congregation. Mr and Mrs Smith and You’re My Star by Stereophonics also played out during the service, in between poignant poems and gospel readings.

The Phoenix and Immortals by Fall Out Boy brought an end to the 45-minute funeral.

The order of service concluded with the Bell family giving thanks, stating: “We would like to thank everyone who has shown such love and generous support during this difficult time and over the last few years.”

Among the mourners were Luke’s school friends from the Holy Family RC Primary School, who had lovingly adorned their playground fence with paint handprints, accompanied by messages from pupils. One read: “I will remember you when I see a rainbow.”