More than 150 people packed Our Lady Queen of Heaven Church in Frimley on Saturday, Dec 2, to celebrate the life of James McCaffery (24), the young Camberley man who was tragically killed when a car he was travelling in hit a tree in Florida.
His family had flown back from the United States three days earlier following a funeral service near Tampa where the accident happened.
After the memorial conducted by family friend the Rev Professor Louis Omer - a deacon who travelled from Jersey - and attended by many of James's friends, the family paid tribute to the man known to his pals as "Jaf" because of his red hair.
His father Peter, a former Camberley magistrate and retired headmaster, said: "Losing a child is very hard for any parent to bear. James was our youngest, but he was the one who was most like me.
"He loved to travel and had been teaching English in the Far East before going to work in America. James was a very easy going lad and got on well with everyone he met, so much so that the man he worked for in the States has set up a scholarship fund in his name at St Leo's University in Florida.
"James's leanings were more to adventure than academia, so I expect he is having a quiet chuckle about the scholarship."
His mother, Shelagh, who worked in administration at Frimley Park Hospital, said: "James was my baby and I will always remember his wonderful smile. Nothing upset him,. Even when his older brothers and sisters ribbed him, he just shrugged it off.
""He spent millennium night on top of a mountain in Egypt. The people we met in America couldn't stop telling me how angry they were with him for making them love him so much. It made me very proud."
James' four brothers and sisters, Stephie, Tim, Jacqui and Nick, were in tears, along with most of the congregation, when the service ended with the poignant song "Leaving on a Jet Plane".
Stephie spoke for all of them when she said of James, a former student at the Salesian College, Farnborough: "We really gave him a good send-off both here and in America, where we scattered his ashes by the river where he liked to sling his hammock between two trees and fish or read his books."