Releasing balloons outside the church in Bethel, Connecticut on Friday, eight-year-old Jake Hockley bid a somber farewell to his little brother, a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
Six-year-old Dylan Hockley, who moved from England two years ago, was remembered at a funeral in Walnut Hill Community Church, a week after became one of 26 victims gunned down at the school.
His parents paid tribute to their energetic, loving son in the service before helping Jake release the purple balloons – Dylan’s favourite colour – as their faces were etched with pain.
As mourners arrived at the church, they were handed an order of service crammed full with colourful, smiling photos of the family’s fondest memories with the young boy.
For his little brother: Jake Hockley is pictured releasing purple balloons in remembrance of his brother
American-born Nicole and her British-born husband Ian previously spoke about their ‘gorgeous angel’ who was found dead in the arms of his favourite teacher, Anne Marie Murphy.
The special needs teacher, who was laid to rest following her own funeral in New York on Thursday, had tried to shield the young boy from the bullets, but also lost her life.
They hailed Dylan’s teachers, including principal Dawn Hochsprung, psychologist Mery Sherlach and his class teacher Vicki Soto, who also died in a desperate bid to protect the pupils.
Remembered: Dylan, who moved to the U.S. from England two years ago, is pictured on his order of service
Celebrating a young life: Further happy family photographs adorn the inside of the order of service
‘We cannot speak highly enough of Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach, exceptional women who knew both our children and who specifically helped us navigate Dylan’s special education needs.
‘Dylan’s teacher, Vicki Soto, was warm and funny and Dylan loved her dearly.
‘We take great comfort in knowing that Dylan was not alone when he died, but was wrapped in the arms of his amazing aide, Anne Marie Murphy.
‘Dylan loved Mrs Murphy so much and pointed at her picture on our refrigerator every day.
‘Though our hearts break for Dylan, they are also filled with love for these and the other beautiful women who all selflessly died trying to save our children.’
Brave faces: The Hockleys stay silent and close as they mourn the loss of their youngest family member
Heroic: Dylan, left, was found wrapped in the arms of his teacher Anne Marie Murphy, left, who also died
Remembering their son, Mr and Mrs Hockley added: ‘Everyone who met Dylan fell in love with him. His beaming smile would light up any room and his laugh was the sweetest music.
‘He loved to cuddle, play tag every morning at the bus stop with our neighbors, bounce on the trampoline, play computer games, watch movies, the color purple, seeing the moon and eating his favorite foods, especially chocolate.
‘There are no words that can express our feeling of loss. We will always be a family of four, as though Dylan is no longer physically with us, he is forever in our hearts and minds. We love you Mister D, our special gorgeous angel.’
They said Dylan was learning to read and was ‘so proud’ when he read them a new book every day.
Heroes: Miss D’Avino is pictured left. School psychologist Mary Sherlach, right, was also laid to rest today
The Hockleys moved into a house on the same street as the mother of the gunman. They said their boys flourished in the town and the family’s happiness had been ‘limitless’.
‘We specifically chose Sandy Hook for the community and the elementary school,’ they said. ‘We do not an shall never regret this choice.’
Following an almost unbearable processions of funerals in Newtown this week, three other young students were laid to rest.
Funerals were held for six-year-olds Olivia Engel and Madeline Hsu and seven-year-old Grace McDonnell, while there were visitations for Emilie Parker, six, and Josephine Gay, seven.
The school’s psychologist, 56-year-old Mary Sherlach, and behavioural therapist, 29-year-old Rachel D’Avino, were also laid to rest.
Innocent: Funerals were also held for Madeleine Hsu, 6, and Grace McDonnell, 7, on Friday
Miss D’Avino, who was remembered at a funeral in her hometown of Bethlehem, Connecticut, died just two days after her longtime boyfriend asked her parents for her hand in marriage.
He was going to propose to her on Christmas Eve.
After the massacre, it emerged that Miss D’Avino, who only began working at the school this fall, tried to draw the shooter away from children at the school, but was killed in the process.
Her friend Lissa Lovetere said teaching special needs children was a calling for Miss D’Avino.
‘She had that gift, that maternal instinct. She cared for people,’ Ms Lovetere told MailOnline on Sunday. ‘Working with special needs children was her forte.’