THE parents of a Farnley Tyas boy today paid tribute to their son's bravery in coping with a terminal illness.
Huddersfield GP Chris Martland and his wife, Janice, said Charlie, 11, was "extremely special".
Charlie died at home on August 8 of Batten disease and his funeral took place yesterday at St Lucius's Church, Farnley Tyas.
He is pictured with his sister, Maisie, and (from left) his mother and family friends Roger Hamlett, Nick Waring and Lucy Ziegler.
Charlie was healthy until the age of four, when he was diagnosed with the incurable genetic condition that affects the brain and nervous system. It causes seizures and shuts down all the body's functions including senses, mobility and speech.
Charlie attended Turnshaws School in Kirkburton until 1996, when his parents decided to give him 24-hour care at home. He captured the hearts of Examiner readers in 2000, when Mr and Mrs Martland organised fundraising for research into Batten disease.
Mrs Martland said Charlie bore the blows his illness dealt him with optimism and courage.
She said: "He dealt with it in a lovely way. In the biggest hardships we went through, he would always see something to smile about.
"He was a brave soldier. We are very privileged to have gone down this road with him. He taught us to appreciate life and do the best we can for others."
Mr and Mrs Martland have helped others by forming the Batten Disease Family Association in 1998, with families, professionals and carers connected with the illness.
The Hampshire- based charity provides support for families and raises money, which has helped scientists to develop a test to determine whether someone is a carrier.
Maisie, nine, will take the new carrier test when she is 16. She does not suffer from Batten disease.
Mrs Martland said the charitable work had been hard but very worthwhile.
She added: "This journey made us realise we had to do something valuable."
Mrs Martland thanked people for helping them. She praised the Martin House Children's Hospice at Boston Spa.
Mrs Martland also thanked Crossroads, which provides home carers, to allow parents some free time. The Small Steps charity also helped.