he Wanter star Tom Parker’s wife has paid an emotional tribute to the late singer at his funeral, calling him her “soul mate”.
Kelsey Hardwick broke down in tears during her eulogy, which was played to fans watching outside the funeral home in south-east London on Wednesday.
The singer died last month at the age of 33, surrounded by his family and bandmates, 17 months after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.
In a moving message, Hardwick said that marrying Parker was “the best day of my life”.
She reminisced about their first meeting, telling the crowds that it was “love at first sight”.
“You did everything with love and full of Bolton Boy charm,” she said.
She continued: “I promise to raise our children with all the values that were important to you.
“You fought like a warrior for 18 months.
“Even in our darkest days we stayed positive – positive Parkers forever.
“They’ve got the best angel guarding them for life and so have I. Soul mates, that’s what we are. We truly lived a thousand years in 13 years.
“If love alone could have saved you, you would have lived forever. Our souls are endless. I love you babe, from your babe,” she said as she broke down in tears.
Earlier fans had lined the streets ahead of the funeral and many bowed their heads in a sign of respect as the hearse and horse drawn carriage filed past.
Among the mourners were former The Wanted bandmates who acted as pallbearers as well as Liam Payne, EastEnders star Louisa Lytton and former Towie stars James Argent and Lydia Bright.
Supernova Champagne by one of Parker’s favorite bands, Oasis, played as his coffin was carried into St Francis of Assisi church in Petts Wood for the service.
A guitar-shaped flower arrangement with the word ‘Brother’ lay on top of the hearse, as did another with ‘Papi’ and ‘Daddy’.
Pallbearers carefully removed the multicolored “Daddy” flower arrangement from the horse-drawn carriage, taking it inside the church along with heart-shaped red roses spelling “Tom”.
Parker’s Lost + Found bandmate and friend, Ollie Marland, gave a moving rendion of you raise Me Upaccompanied by the piano and violin during the service.
After serving as a pallbearer at the funeral, The Wanted bandmate Max George, told attendees during a speech: “Tom was always a brother, he made such an impact from the start. His love for music and striving for success outmatched all of us.”
He continued: “He has left us far too early and we will miss him so much. I think the heartbreak shared here today is a credit to the love that Tom spread around the world”.
Fans had flown in from as far as Austria and Ireland to pay their respects to the late star.
Stefanie Marek, 29, from Austria, said fellow fans waiting along the procession route had shared special memories they had of Parker and The Wanted over the years.
She added: “I have come all the way from Austria, I came in from London Gatwick yesterday because I saw the announcement Kelsey made.
“I didn’t expect to be surrounded by so many people, it’s amazing how much of an impact Parker has had. It’s amazing to be surrounded by so much love.”
Another mourner standing outside Parker’s funeral was 24-year-old The Wanted fan Laura Chalk, from Essex.
She said: “I still don’t believe that Tom is gone; he has such a special place in my heart.
“Being here is helping me let go a bit, I think it is nice for Kelsey and his kids to see such a crowd of his fans and show how much he meant to the world.
“I was very young and I used to have Top Of The Pops magazine, there was this new band The Wanted and I didn’t really have internet – my parents were quite strict – and I heard All Time Low and from then I have been The Wanted crazy.
“I am a big fan. Honestly it is a real privilege to be here.”
Tom Parker’s coffin was carried out of the church to The Wanted’s hit song Gold Forever.
Kelsey, dressed in a gold jacket, cried as she placed a single white rose inside the hearse before the singer’s body was taken to a crematorium.
Friends, family and fans lined the street clapping and cheering as the body of the 33-year-old was driven away.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by Parker’s widow to “keep Tom’s memory alive forever” via donations to charitable causes, instead of sending flowers and cards.
The page exceeded its £5,000 target within the first 12 hours and so far has received more than £54,000 in donations.
Earlier this month, she thanked all those who have donated to the fund for their “heartwarming messages” which she said have “really shone a light on just what a legend my Tom is” and highlighted his achievements in the final 18 months of his life .
The couple married in 2018 and had a daughter, Aurelia Rose, in 2019 and a son, Bodhi, in October last year.
Parker disclosed in October 2020 that he had been diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma and had begun radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Despite his diagnosis, in the weeks before his death he had performed on stage with his bandmates as part of their much-delayed reunion tour.