THE joy two teenage cousins had brought to everyone they met was remembered at a service to celebrate their lives.

Hundreds attended the funeral service of Holy Cross College student Joel Aniyankunju, aged 19 and Jason Varghese, aged 15, at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Farnworth.

Many stood at the back while others watched the service, which was being live streamed to family in India and Europe, in the church hall.

Heartbroken family members were joined by many young friends of the two who shared their memories of Joel and Jason.

The cousins drowned whilst swimming in a lake in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday, August 23.

Family and friends spoke about how their memory of the two boys would live inside in their hearts and keep the teenagers with them always.

Photographs of the two boys were placed at the front of the church, with one showing the two together poignantly illustrating how close they were.

White flowers adorned the coffins as they were carried in to the church

Football shirts, headphones and a trophy were placed on the coffins reflecting their passion and interests.

A traditional orthodox service with readings and prayers was led by Rev Father Happy Jacob and Rev Aji John before mourners, including representatives from school the two attended, laid flowers at the altar.

Many­— friends, teachers and family ­— paid tribute to the boys.

Jenson, Jason’s younger brother, said: “Their beautiful memories will always be with us.

“The past 13 years of my life with my brother were the best together creating loads of beautiful moments which will always be here and those memories will give me the strength to move forward in my life.

“I will always miss you and will always love you.”

A cousin of the boys, Sean, read out his poem which he had written in memory of the two.

He said: “You may be gone in real life but never ever in our lives.

“We maybe sad for evermore but happiness they shall find.

“Their lives were not yet complete with their destiny they had to compete.

“Their lives in heaven will be great.”

He added: “We will miss you always, your memories stay.”

Other family members spoke about the love Joel had for his life and how he would look for the positive in everything.

Joel had just finished his A-level studies at Holy Cross College.

His friend Michael Egerton also gave a eulogy.

He said: “Joel, to everyone who knew him, was a kind-hearted, caring, intelligent funny and friendly person.

“No matter what he always had a bright smile on his face and counld turn anybody’s day around.

“Joel would push everyone to be their very best. That was Joel – resilient, determined and a leader.

“Joel cared so much for the people he loved. His family and his friends were his world.”