Sheffield funeral for stab victim Joe Walker

Joe Walker, 23.
Joe Walker, 23.
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Poignant scenes played out as a Sheffield community came to a standstill to say goodbye to a young stab victim.

Traffic came to a standstill as hundreds of mourners gathered outside City Road Crematorium to pay tribute to Joe Walker, from Intake, who was stabbed to death last month.

Silence fell upon the crowd as the hearse carrying Joe’s coffin and floral tributes of red and white - his beloved Blades’ colours - pulled up outside the entrance.

As Joe’s heartbroken family travelled ahead, a procession of friends marched solemnly behind the hearse under an autumn sunshine.

Inside the crematorium funeral-goers filled the pews and aisles, spilling out into the corridors and outside the building.

With UB40’s Can’t Help Falling in Love playing softly in the background, Sister Eileen Keating welcomed the crowd.

“All funerals should be like this,” she said. “This is the way a life should be celebrated.”

Tears flowed as she described the 24-year-old as someone who ‘exemplified life, love and laughter’.

It was clear that more than more month after Joe died from a single stab wound sustained in a knife attack on the Manor, the pain is still as raw as ever for his family and friends.

But members of the close-knit community of Intake - where Joe spent all his life - consoled one another as they paid their respects.

Sister Eileen said: “We have all experienced that moment when the electricity goes off, and all of a sudden everything stops.

“Joe’s death has been like a blackout. The sun was shining and now it is not.

“We can cry because he is gone, or we can celebrate the love we shared with him.”

And she joked: “Joe would always be willing to help anyone. Though he didn’t lend money... because he never had any.”

His parents Karen, 50, and Paddy, 55, and siblings Shannon, 20, and Jack, 25, bowed their heads in grief at the front of the crematorium as Sister Eileen read a poem.

The mood of each mourner was then summed up by the sound of Puff Daddy and Faith Evans’ song I’ll Be Missing You.

Joe’s family have thanked his friends and the wider community for fundraising towards yesterday’s service.

A 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has appeared in court charged with Joe’s murder.