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Father of teen who died after 2.4km run did not expect to be the one to send him off on final journey

SINGAPORE — Three years ago, after returning from a funeral service, Mr Davy Sim told his then 13-year-old son to make sure that he would send the older man off on his final journey.

Father of teen who died after 2.4km run did not expect to be the one to send him off on final journey

Family and friends gather at the Mandai Crematorium to bid their final farewell to Benjamin Sim, the teenager who died suddenly after a 2.4km run in school. Photo: Syed Ebrahim/TODAY

SINGAPORE — Three years ago, after returning from a funeral service, Mr Davy Sim told his then 13-year-old son to make sure that he would send the older man off on his final journey. The last thing Mr Sim had expected then was that he would be the one bidding the teenager farewell.

Mr Sim recounted that conversation he had at home with Benjamin during his son’s cremation service on Friday (Aug 4). More than 200 family members, friends and teachers were present at Hall 1 in Mandai Crematorium to pay their final respects to the teenager.

“There was a time I told him, ‘Ben, make sure you see me off on my last journey and share a (good) eulogy’,” the 55-year-old senior pastor at Singapore Bible Baptist Church recalled. “Little did I know, I’m the one who’s sharing (his) eulogy.”

Benjamin, a 16-year-old Chong Boon Secondary School student, collapsed and died on Tuesday (Aug 1) after a 2.4km run during his physical education lesson.

“It was a shock to us (and) we were not prepared … I wish we (can) exchange places, but it’s not the case. I have to see him in his last journey,” Mr Sim said.

But he said he was “thankful” for the “express route” his son had taken.

“He is in a better place than us, because we are here still, with the pollution, the sicknesses and everything,” said Mr Sim, who delivered a sermon before joining the crowd in chorusing Benjamin’s favourite song Lord, I Need You.

Earlier in the day, at about 3pm, the casket carrying Benjamin’s body was ushered from the Singapore Bible Baptist Church where a three-day wake had been held into the hearse by four pall-bearers.

Led by his parents and 23-year-old brother Daniel Sim, the crowd including Benjamin’s highland terrier dog, Alfred trailed behind the vehicle for about 300m before boarding three buses to the crematorium.

Shortly after a final prayer at the hall, attendees formed a line and individually laid a flower on Benjamin’s body, bidding him a final, tearful goodbye.

Choking with tears, a 16-year-old schoolmate who declined to be named, said: “He was gone too soon ... We were still discussing our JC (junior college) choices together.”


The tune of Amazing Grace filled the air at the densely packed viewing gallery, where the casket was later transported. As it was rolled into the furnace, Mr Sim shouted: “Bye bye Benjamin, see you in heaven! Till we meet again, be strong.”

After the cremation, Mr Sim told TODAY that even though “life is not going to be the same”, “we have to move on, and adjust and adapt”.

“I think the only thing we will think about is that he is in a better place in heaven,” he said with a smile.

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