Sombre crowd of hundreds gathers to mourn 11-year-old boy

1Tuesday night, a sombre crowd of more than 500, holding candles and balloons huddled around an intersection near where 11-year-old Finnigan Danne’s body was found.
With a dozen green and white balloons sent drifting into evening sky, a mother, a family and a community said goodbye to 11-year-old Finnigan Danne.
Over the weekend hundreds of local volunteers, police canine units and officers on horseback searched for the boy who went missing Saturday in Dundas, Ont.
“I want you to know that I was thankful to see so much love for my son, and for his family, and it is all of you who I will say is responsible for locating my son,” said Finnigan’s mother Vanessa Velke standing next to Finnigan’s father, Neal Danne, and his brothers, Sebastian and Colin.
Tuesday night, a sombre crowd of more than 500, holding candles and balloons huddled around an intersection a short distance from where Finnigan’s body was found.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said 49-year-old Chris Hayden of Dundas. He volunteers for a group who called off a watershed cleanup Sunday to put their waders and boots to use for an even nobler cause.
They searched all the way up Spencer Creek, up and down the neighbourhood streets, and when Finnigan was finally found, Hayden was busy canvassing the neighbourhood with a photo.
“I think we were all convinced we were going to find him alive and well,” said Hayden.
Dundas mother Taylor Baxter, says the first day of school will be the hardest. Her daughter attended Sir William Osler Elementary School with Finnigan, and she fondly remembers staff guiding him out before the other students every day at 3:15 p.m.
“He was an icon of the school. You knew that everything was OK when Finn came out … He was beautiful, not a care in the world. It was too soon, too short.”
The Vigil’s Facebook page, asked residents to bring candles, food, gift card or donations for the family.
The tragedy has brought the community together, said Dundas resident Courtney Christie. The vigil “brings a lot of closure for the community,” Christie said.
So far, support has come in at an astounding pace from Dundas residents, Christie said. Even former community members — now living as far away as the United Kingdom — have been donating to help out the family. Local churches, the Dundas Metro supermarket, restaurants and other businesses are donating food and needed items to the family.
Finnigan, a small boy who suffered from alternating hemiplegia, had had left his home at about 10 a.m. Saturday, said Hamilton Police. An Amber Alert was issued 27 hours after he went missing. His body was discovered about 200 metres from his home in a 1.5 metre-wide culvert at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
Canadian Press reports indicated that he may have been searching for his cat which had gone missing Saturday morning.
As Velke addressed the community she reminded them that Finnigan’s death was going to have an impact on his disease
“It was such a rare syndrome that nobody really knew about any of it. Finnigan and all of you here today are going to make a difference in alternating hemiplegia,” she said.
On Wednesday, friends and family will gather from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at the Turner Family Funeral Home, 53 Main St. in Dundas. The funeral service will be held Thursday at 4 p.m. at the same location.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to the Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood Foundation, 2000 Town Center, Suite 1900 Southfield, MI 48075.

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