Family and friends have said a final fond farewell to their football mad lad.

Dozens gathered at the funeral of Elijah Khaira, a highly regarded young referee and passionate Saints fan who died last month, aged 20.

An emotional service took place at St Peter's Church in Curdridge, the village where Elijah grew up, yesterday. 

(Image: Stuart Martin)

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Mourners wore bright colours to reflect Elijah's bright and colourful spirit.

Floral tributes were in red and white and included the words 'Top Boy' - a reference to his nickname among the Saints fans who he travelled with home and away, most recently to Wembley for the memorable play-off final victory

Elijah's parents Nick and Sam, who clutched his childhood comforter, and younger sister Bo, aged 17, were led into church by friends, clad in retro tracksuit tops and Saints shirts, and proudly carrying his coffin.

(Image: Stuart Martin)

They moved between pews decked with family photos to the sounds of Who Wants To Live Forever by Queen.

One of Elijah's favourite bands, Queen also provided reflection music Don't Stop Me Now, which was said to perfectly sum him up.

The budding referee had aspirations to one day officiate at Premier League level and was excelling at his marine biology studies at University of Portsmouth.

He was described as 'determined, loving, generous and genuine' by his godmother 'auntie Gill' Canon Dr Gillian Bowen, who read the eulogy on behalf of the family.

Donna Love told of the huge impact Elijah had at additional needs youth group The Friday Night Project in Hedge End, where he was self-appointed leader and quizmaster.

(Image: Stuart Martin)

There were beautiful hymns and prayers, including Abide With Me, Make Me a Channel of Your Peace and The Lord's Prayer, before the congregation left the church to the sounds of Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra.

Memories continued to be shared at The Cricketers Inn, following Elijah's burial in the cemetery across the road from the church, overseen by Revd Gregg Mensingh.

Suffering from a mild form of epilepsy, it is believed Elijah was injured during a night time seizure at his student house in Southsea.

(Image: Stuart Martin)

More than £5,500 has already been raised for The Epilepsy Society in Elijah's name. 

To make a donation, visit

(Image: Family collection)