Teen’s heartbreaking farewell: ‘Here for you forever’
IT WAS always going to be a heartbreaking farewell - a much-loved teenager killed accidentally by one of his best mates as they skylarked on a Friday night, as boys on the cusp of adulthood are wont to do.
But the funeral of Jordan Ellwood, 17, who was run over after trying to jump on to his friend's ute in Brisbane's east on January 17, took grief to a new level.
Jordan's mother Mildred 'Milly' Ellwood was understandably stricken, inconsolable at the loss of her only son, but the pain etched deep into the faces of his many friends told of the wider toll of a young life tragically cut short.
Hundreds of mourners packed into the Star of the Sea Catholic Church at Cleveland to remember a boy who wanted to become a mechanic and was due to begin Year 12 at Redlands College last week.
Devastated friends filed past Jordan's open white casket, blanketed in red roses, openly sobbing as they greeted his mother and other family members seated in the front pew.
Jordan's father Peter Ellwood told the congregation that his son - affectionately known as Joe or Buster - was an intelligent young man who was a "protector to his sisters and an inspiration to his peers".
"We are thankful for the time we had to love and laugh with him as he grew," Mr Ellwood said. "He was often wise beyond his years and it has been an unexpected and palpable loss for our family."
Jordan's sister Rose, 19, flanked by younger sister Jasmine, 15, said it was an honour to call him brother.
"Buster, it was a complete and total joy to walk the world with you. We love you, we feel you in our blood and in our hearts and we hear your voice as you sing, most likely rap," she said.
"Don't stress, brother … we will be here for you forever."
Friends also spoke of a cheeky, loyal, "chirpy and down-to-earth" boy who always wanted to make people smile.
One mate said meeting Jordan in Year 9 caused him to "turn his life around", and he would always be grateful to Peter and 'Milly' for bringing Jordan into the world.
Ms Ellwood, 40, is a familiar figure in Queensland's fashion scene and was the 2019 state finalist in Myer Fashions on the Field at Flemington, in Victoria.
Originally from Zambia, she has raised her children to embrace their African heritage.
She has also embraced the boys who were with Jordan when he died.
"He was just having fun with his best mates who've known him since he was six years old," Ms Ellwood told The Courier-Mail in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.
"Those boys were at my house today and they too are just broken.
"He was a very soft, happy, loving, cheeky man, he drew a lot of people together," she said.
"He used to call me 'hovering Milly' because, you know, I was always there."
Ms Ellwood, of Wynnum, has visited the scene of the horrific accident many times, trying to come to terms with what happened on that fateful night under the Gateway Bridge in Murarrie.
It has raised more than $7000.
As well as a large contingent of students from Redlands College, the funeral mass was attended by a number of Brisbane identities including Dale Olsson and Damien Anthony Rossi.
After the service, Jordan's body was taken to Redland Bay Cemetery.
A wake was held at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Manly.