More than 1,000 people gathered at a Mansfield church Tuesday morning, releasing red balloons into the air and sharing stories to commemorate the life of a 13-year-old boy who was killed in an accident with a school bus while riding his bike last week.
As the funeral procession for Shane Farrell, a seventh-grader at Harold L. Qualters Middle School, passed by, community members lined the sidewalks of South Main Street and released the balloons. Red was Shane’s favorite color, said Anthony Linden, a spokesman for the Farrell family.
“There were some amazing words spoken and some amazing stories shared,” Linden said Tuesday evening. “It was remarkable.”
Shane’s funeral was held at Edgewood Church of Christ, where more than 30 red, heart-shaped balloons filled the front lawn.
“For me, [balloons] are uplifting. They can make you happy for a second,” Heather Willis said last week.
Willis lives near the site of the crash, and organized the red balloon tribute along with a neighbor, Joan Adorno. Prior to the service, Willis urged neighbors to wear red in memory of Shane.
The church is just a mile from the spot where the boy died after the accident June 3.
Shane was riding his bicycle home from school on East Street when he veered off the sidewalk and struck the rear section of the school bus, State Police spokesman David Procopio said on Thursday.
At least 500 people gathered in the main auditorium inside the church, and 200 others were in overflow areas, according to Linden. Over 700 more people congregated outside the building, he said.
Shane’s father, Brian Farrell, said he was “totally stunned by all of the love that has been shown” and “never realized how many people loved him,” Linden said in a statement before the funeral.
Shane was buried in Glenwood Cemetery in Natick on Tuesday afternoon, in the same plot as his grandmother, Joan Farrell, who died last October, Linden said.
The Farrell family released a statement Thursday, saying they were greatly shaken by the loss and needed time and space to recover.
Jonathan Wiggs of the Globe Staff and Globe correspondents Rosa Nguyen and Aneri Pattani contributed to this report. M.G. Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.