THE mother of former Chelsea youth player Jordan Tabor paid tribute to her “best friend” as he was laid to rest in Abingdon yesterday.
More than 600 mourners turned out at Trinity Church to pay their last respects to Mr Tabor, 23, who died when he fell from his hotel balcony at the Titanic Beach Lara Hotel, in Antalya, Turkey, on July 23.
In her eulogy, mum Louise Bates, of Wootton, said: “I have no regrets, no ifs, no whats, no maybes. We did so much together. What I want to say, Jordan, is thank you. I want to thank you for being cuddly, for being smiley, for being affectionate, and for being thoughtful.
“I thank you most of all for being mine, for being my son and my best friend.”
Mourners, including Chelsea and former England under-21 footballer Josh McEachran and Coronation Street star Brooke Vincent, sang the hymns Jerusalem and I Vow to Thee, My Country.
Mr Tabor’s girlfriend Danielle McEachran, Josh’s sister, also paid tribute to the former Abingdon Preparatory School and Cokethorpe pupil.
She said: “Every morning before work you would come in and kiss me on the forehead and I would have to remind you to brush your teeth. You have no idea how much that kiss meant.
“You weren’t just a big part of my life but my family’s too. You were like a big brother to the boys. Thank you for being the best boyfriend I could have wished for.”
Mr Tabor’s stepfather Matt Bates said: “I have been fortunate enough to have Jordan in my life. He has been a huge part of my life.
“As Jordan sleeps the world can rest in the knowledge that Jack Daniels can slow down his distillery, the wrapping paper is still left on the shelf, because he never wrapped anything, NatWest can reduce their orders of new credit cards.
“Family members can rest in the knowledge that the grass in their gardens will grow again and the football pitch will always be one man down.
“Jordan, you made an impression in this world that normally takes 83 years, not 23.”
Mr Tabor’s dad, Craig Jeffrey who lives in Los Angeles with his wife Kiran <<corr>> and sons Jake and Connor, travelled back to England for the funeral.
His brother-in-law Tony Bodell read out a eulogy on his behalf, in which he paid tribute to his son.
He said: "Jordan was my best friend, my best man and the best son any father could have hoped for.
"I am so proud and thankful to have been his dad. I feel truly blessed to have so many beautiful memories and photos of our time together which will stay with me forever. Jordan was a huge part of my life and always will be. He will never be forgotten.
"If Jordan has gone to heaven, which I’m sure he has, then the angels are in for a hell of a party."
Mr Tabor played for Chelsea’s youth team between 2005 and 2009 before moving on to Cheltenham Town, Didcot Town and Kidlington FC.
At the time of his death he was working for Secondsite Recruitment in Abingdon.
At a gathering at the Black Horse pub in Gozzard’s Ford after the service, Mr Tabor’s friend George Wood, 25, said: “I have known Jordan for a long time and it seems everything has already been said. He was the most loveable guy and I’ll really miss him.”
An inquest was yesterday opened and adjourned into Mr Tabor’s death.
Oxfordshire coroner Darren Salter said: “It is believed that he fell from a third-floor balcony at around 4am. He was discovered by the hotel staff at around 6am.
“He was cold and unresponsive and death was confirmed at the scene.”
A date has not yet been set for when the inquest will be re-opened.
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