TWO boys who died in a house fire thought to have been started by their father have been described as “a shining light” at a funeral service attended by hundreds of people in South Yorkshire.
Talented musician Jack Sykes, 12, and his aspiring athlete brother Paul, nine, died after a blaze at their father’s home in Penistone, near Barnsley, last month.
Today, family and friends packed St John’s Church, in the Pennine town, and scores more braved atrocious weather outside to form a “circle of love” in the churchyard.
There was silence and tears in the town centre as the two white coffins were carried into the church with the boys’ mother, Claire Sykes, leading mourners behind.
The hour-long service had no hymns, but was instead packed with tributes, stories and songs.
“Yes, Jack and Paul’s lives were cut short but I think we’d be doing both them and Claire a disservice if they were to be remembered for the tragic nature of their death,” Andy Platt, the head of Springvale Primary School - where Paul was a pupil and Jack a former pupil - told the congregation.
“Instead, let’s try and remember the shining light that was their lives.”
The two boys were rescued from the house in Tennyson Close, Penistone, along with their father, Darren Sykes, on October 22.
But Paul and Mr Sykes, 44, died later the same evening.
Jack was taken to a specialist unit in Manchester but died almost a week later.
Detectives have confirmed the fatal fire was started deliberately but said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the investigation.
Mrs Sykes said on a specially set-up Facebook page that her estranged husband, the boys’ father, had murdered them.