Reality TV star and singer Frankie Cocozza has spoken publicly for the first time about the trauma of having to bury his best friend Connor Saunders following his death last month.

The former The X Factor and Celebrity Big Brother star revealed his devastation after being one of the pallbearers at the funeral of the 19-year-old – who died following an altercation between two groups of people in an area of Brighton on April 14.

“When Connor’s mum said she wanted me to carry him in I knew it would be hard – but I had to do it. I’ve no doubt that if things had turned out the other way round Connor would have been the first to say that he would carry me,” Frankie told The Sun.

“I wanted to do that one last thing for him.”

And he said that while he was struggling to come to terms with his loss, he was proud that Connor – a promising footballer – had signed up as an organ donor when he turned 16, meaning that five other lives have been saved as a result.

“When I found out that his organs were used to save five other young people’s lives I had never felt prouder,” he admitted. “There are five people out there who have the chance of a future now – all because of him.

“I just wish there was a way of letting them know just how special the man was who is part of them now. I reckon every one of them will go on to achieve something amazing now, all because of my mate.”

A 14-year-old boy has been charged with manslaughter following Connor’s death and will appear in court in Brighton on Tuesday.