Published: 12:08, 13 September 2019
| Updated: 09:37, 14 September 2019
The funeral of six-year-old Lucas Dobson was held today on what would have been his seventh birthday.
Kristina Curtis from KMTV reporting on the service
He was laid to rest in a coffin decorated in the style of Lightning McQueen, a character from popular Pixar film, Cars.
Many of those who attended wore red, Lucas' favourite colour.
Police and search and rescue attended and Reverend Peter Ould asked the congregation to give them a standing ovation during the service.
Lucas' father, Nathan Dobson, said: "Lucas George Dobson, you were my sonbut you were more that, you were my strength when I was weak.
"I'm sorry you had to leave so soon but I'll always be here waiting for you.
"I love you today, I love you tomorrow, I love you forever."
He announced details of the funeral last week and said it was "for everyone and anyone that would like to pay last respects to the little boy that brought so many people and so much love together."
At the end of the service Mr Dobson left in a white sports car with Lucas written on the side.
A joint tribute from Lucas' mother Kirsty Furze and grandmother Donna was read out.
Donna told the congregation:"The reason we are here today is heartbreaking but I would like to share some precious memories with you.
"I was there when he was born and it was the most amazing experience."
She told stories about Lucas' first family camping trips and how he joined in trips to parks, zoos and aquariums.
She added: "I was there whenhe was born and it was the most amazing experience.
"He was my perfect little pickle. "He is still my little pickle and he's still his mummy's little prince."
A letter by Lucas's older cousin Millie May was read out.
It said: "Your big blue eyes said it all, they lit up the path in front of you.
"I loved you from the first time I saw you and I always will.
"This feels unbearable but I am glad I have so many memories."
A statement from the family made before the service, read: "Kirsty, Nathan and all the members of Lucas' family want to thank everyone who has come today to pay their respects to our beautiful little boy.
"We are very grateful to all the members of the emergency services and to everyone who came to support us in the search for him.
"This is a very sad day for us, and we are grateful for the space to celebrate his life, and grieve our deep loss."
Rob Hackett, Lucas' head teacher at Warden House Primary School in Deal, told the congregation how Lucas joined the school in September 2017.
He said when a teacher first met Lucas on a home visit he was shy and hid behind the sofa .
But Mr Hackett said;: "In the first year I saw Lucas grow in confidence and show me the real him. He won kudos in his class for being the oldest in his year group.
"Pupils remember his kind and compassionate nature. He was a kind, gentle boy who always looked after other children.
"Words cannot express the sadness we feel at his loss."
After the service Ms Furze gave a heartfelt thanks on Facebook to those who attended.
She said: "Thank you to everyone that made it a lovely service for my baby boy.
"My baby would be proud of everyone. It's all overwhelming but just a huge thank you to everyone for your support.
"Lucas mummy loves you so, so much and will miss you every day my little prince."
A tribute table to Lucas
Lucas, of Deal, had fallen into the water on Saturday, August 17, while on a family fishing trip.
It lead to hundreds of local people joining emergency services in a five-day search for him.
He had been trying to step from a jetty onto a boat when he fell and was swept away by the current.
Three men, including his father, had dived into the water to try to save the boy but couldn't reach him.
Candlelit vigils were held in several coastal and inland towns and villages two days later as hopes remained that he might be found alive.
But on Wednesday, August 21, his body was found and recovered from the river, close to where he had fallen in.
More vigils were held in his memory in Deal and Margate two days afterwards.
An inquest opening on Monday, September 2, heard that, according to a post-mortem Lucas had died from immersion.
The hearing was adjourned until November 12.