Hundreds gather at funeral of Unanderra boy Ryan Teasdale

"Fly high with the angels Ryan, mum and dad know you’ll be looking down at us today with your cheeky grin," a letter from his parents said.
"Fly high with the angels Ryan, mum and dad know you’ll be looking down at us today with your cheeky grin," a letter from his parents said.

Ryan Teasdale was a cheeky, happy boy who always had food on his face, would talk his way out of chores and ended every argument by saying sorry.

Aged 11, he loved attending Lindsay Park Public School where he was a mentor and favourite of teachers and students.

A “cuddly koala” of a boy, he lavished his family with hugs and love.

Known as a character, he liked pulling faces, eating chicken carbonara and sour lollies, sharing random facts with his family and friends, and the colours purple and blue.

A fan of superheroes, funny TV shows and YouTube videos, he described himself as an indoor person, but he loved the rain and would run around in it in his undies.

With heavy hearts, hundreds of friends, family, teachers and schoolmates gathered on Friday morning to say goodbye to this bubbly little boy, who died last week when he was washed down a stormwater drain while playing in a Unanderra park on his boogie board.

Many children wore their blue school uniforms, while others came dressed in purple or with ribbons pinned the their chests, matching the brightly coloured, flower-covered coffin at the front of the room. 

Huddled closely together, his parents, Neil and Melissa, and siblings, Jason and Brooke, were flanked by their extended family.

Celebrant Paul Young said the Kembla Grange ceremony was designed to be a celebration of Ryan’s tragically cut short life, and asked people to reach out and support the grieving Teasdale family.

Speaking on behalf of Neil and Melissa, their aunt Andrea thanked the people who had been with them in the sad and painful time. This included police, the SES, volunteers and community members who searched for Ryan and have donated to fundraising campaigns.

“Ryan it’s been amazing how a little guy can bring a community together,” she read. 

“The pain we feel from losing you will stay with us forever, fly high with the angels Ryan, mum and dad know you’ll be looking down at us today with your cheeky grin.

“Our hope is now that you can help guide your brother and sister, Brooke and Jason, to a path of happiness. We love you forever, mum and dad.”

His uncle Jason, or the man “lucky enough to be the Big Jase to the Little Jase,” implored those rocked by Ryan’s death – especially his older brother who was with Ryan playing at the park when he disappeared – not to stop doing the things they enjoy in life.

“It might sounds wrong, but I’m wanting to ask you a favour,” he said. “Not just Jase, but everyone here today, please keep your adventurous spirit.”

“Make those choices, have fun, seek out challenges, new destinations – not just for your brother but for you.”