GLOWING tributes were paid today at the funeral of a “beautiful baby boy” who died after being swept from a sea wall.
Members of the lifeboat crew who pulled three-year-old Eryk Cieraszewski from the icy waters of the Forth joined his friends and family for the moving service.
Eryk was swept to his death by a crashing wave which hit the esplanade in Kirkcaldy, Fife, where he was enjoying a walk.
Dozens of mourners packed St Marie’s RC church in the town for today’s service, including members of the Kinghorn lifeboat.
As Eryk’s parents Slawek and Jadwiga looked on, sitting just a few metres from their son’s coffin, Rev Edward Wanak led the tributes.
Rev Wanak, who was at the hospital when Eryk died, told the congregation: “We are all asking, ‘How could this happen? Why Could this happen?’
“Everyone in the community is asking this, and especially the mass media.
“But we are not here to answer those questions, even if we could. We are here to commend Eryk to God.”
He continued: “Eryk was a beautiful baby boy, only three years old, who I had met.
“My deepest sympathies go to his mother and father. We will miss him.”
He added, addressing the crowd of several dozen in the church: “I see many different people from the community are here, including classmates from St Andrews High School and the headmaster.
“You are all here because your hearts told you to be here.”
Many mourners were from the town’s Polish community, along with police officers and firefighters who were involved in the desperate rescue effort.
The ceremony was conducted in Polish and English. Eryk’s father gave a reading in Polish to the assembled mourners, some of whom could not hold back their tears.
Despite the enormity of the tragedy, he managed to remain composed throughout..
Rev Wanat gave many mourners communion before sprinkling Eryk’s tiny white coffin with holy water.
Then, as the bells of St Marie’s tolled, two pallbearers carried the coffin – bearing a white wreath – from the church.
Despite the freezing cold and high winds outside the church, Mr Cieraszewski, 34, took time to thank all those who had turned out to pay tribute.
He said: “It’s been a very hard time for me.
“I’m glad so many people could come and pay tribute to Eryk.”
Eryk died on Saturday 12 November in what police said was a “tragic accident”.
Shocked witnesses told how his mother was videoing him running through puddles getting his feet wet when the wave hit.
The coast was being battered by waves and high winds at the time. What was described as ‘strong well’ carried Eryk out to sea.
His mother, who was with her six-year-old daughter, Oliwia, desperately tried to grab her son as he was carried away.
A Facebook group called ‘RIP Eryk Cieraszewski’ had 77 members, who paid tributes and sent condolences to the boy’s family.
SkyHamptonsaid on the group: “Rip wee manursafe with the angels now xx”
Following the tragedy, Eryk’s mother said in a statement: “Eryk will be sadly missed by all the family. We will never forget him.”