‘Jack was always smiling – we are so proud of him’

Jac's funeral was attended by more than 500 people
Jac's funeral was attended by more than 500 people

JACK BRAY’S short life was celebrated when more than 500 family members and friends said goodbye at his Star Wars themed funeral.

The 12-year-old died at home in Orchard Avenue, Lancing, on May 24, two years after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

His parents, Andrina and Dan, described their son as incredibly brave and always smiling.

Alongside older sister Nicole and his grandparents, they organised a funeral that drew on Jack’s passions – his coffin was led by two Star Wars stormtroopers, floral displays represented the Wizard of Oz arcade game that he loved, the congregation wore items of green clothing and everyone had to eat a sour sweet during the ceremony.

People were asked for donations to be made to Chestnut Tree House and The Brain Tumour Charity.

Andrina said: “We did not discuss Jack’s funeral with him because we never thought we would have to, but we know he would have loved it. We put his Roland Rat teddy inside his coffin with him because it was his favourite, and the flowers that everyone chose were amazing.

“There were playing cards, R2D2, the word ‘Tiger’, as that’s what Jack’s grandfather used to call him, and lots of Lego references.

“Because he loved stormtroopers, Ian Hart Funeral Service arranged the costumes.”

Jack, a pupil at Sir Robert Woodard Academy, in Lancing, underwent surgery in 2012 to remove the original brain tumour, which was successful. He then endured 18 months of gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy before a second tumour returned in November last year, just three months after treatment finished. This time, the Bray family were told it was inoperable.

Andrina said: “Jack was really ill and had all the side effects that go with this type of therapy, and he also lost his hair.

“But he was brave throughout it all and he never once complained or said ‘why me?’ It was as if he had almost accepted his fate and got on with it.

“Jack was also so good with the other kids at the hospital, he would always tell them that it was going to be all right.”

Dan added: “He was an absolute inspiration and that’s what we will remember most. We are so proud of him and he will never be forgotten.

“This has left a massive void in our lives.”