It was four years ago today that we heard the terrible news about 15-year-old Kiyan Prince. I wrote the following article after attending his funeral in North London:-
The Service for Kiyan was held last Thursday at the 7th Day Adventist Church in the Holloway Road. I arrived quite early and the Church Hall began to fill up very quickly. Soon, it was standing room only and the later arrivals stood outside. All in all, there must of been around 1,000 mourners attending this very sad occasion. Kiyan’s Headmaster and school friends from the London Academy in Edgware filed in. The QPR U16 team stood together and there were also a number of much younger players in attendance, wearing their Club tracksuits.
When Kiyan’s coffin was brought in, many openly wept. After the family took their places, a Church Elder welcomed us and the opening hymn and prayer followed. Kiyan’s parents supported each other and stood before us. Mark Prince spoke with great dignity about his son. He said that he was a ‘true Prince’ and that he had once told him, “You are not just a Prince by name, you have to conduct yourself like a prince.” He added that Kiyan would look out for others regardless of whether they were older or younger than him. He spoke well of QPR and added that it had come down to a straight choice between West Ham and the R’s and he was pleased that they had made the right choice. QPR had been very good to them. Mark concluded by saying, “If any of you young people want to have a role model and look up to somebody, then use my son.”
The Headmaster, Phil Hearne, then stepped up and recalled on how far and wide the tragedy had touched so many people’s hearts. A 92-year-old man residing in a Home in Norfolk wrote to say that he had wished that he could of sent some flowers. He went on to say that Kiyan began to realise the importance of Maths and in particular ‘percentages’ as it would become very useful in the future when speaking to his Manager ! Joe Gallen then spoke on behalf of the Club and he said that it took him about 5 minutes deciding to sign him as a 13-year-old. “There are people who can make everyone else feel better and in terms of football, they can make people play better, Kiyan had that.”
With great emotion, Kiyan’s sister sang a few lines of Puff Daddy’s, ‘I’ll Be Missing You’ and the closing hymn was, ‘How Great Thou Art’. After a few more words from the Pastor, the Service came to an end. Outside, I saw Paul Furlong, nearby Ricky Sappleton and Harry Smart were doing a TV interview. Kiyan was buried at the New Southgate Cemetery.
God Bless Kiyan.