Belfast Telegraph

Little Jack Roycroft’s bravery touched everyone he knew, funeral told

Mourners outside Church of the Nazarene in Lurgan for the funeral of 11-year-old Jack Roycroft yesterday
Mourners outside Church of the Nazarene in Lurgan for the funeral of 11-year-old Jack Roycroft yesterday
Jack Roycroft

By Gillian Halliday

The pastor at the funeral of a Co Armagh boy who died from cancer told mourners he was a brave child who always managed a "cheeky little smile".

Jack Roycroft (11) passed away at his home in Lurgan last Saturday surrounded by his parents Ian and Tracey, and sisters Lauren and Grace.

He was diagnosed with a rare form of tumour when he was nine.

Yesterday he was laid to rest following a funeral service attended by hundreds of people at the Church of the Nazarene in Lurgan.

During the service, Pastor Jim Fugard told mourners that it was an honour to know the boy.

"I first met Jack around two years ago," he recalled.

"I was introduced to him by his aunt Leanne when she asked me to pray with him.

"From that time until now it has been my privilege to get to know this special wee boy.

"Even when he was very ill and in pain he could still manage a cheeky little smile."

He added: "Jack was one of the bravest and most courageous little boys that you could ever meet."

Pastor Fugard told Jack's parents their son did not give up in his battle with cancer, it was his "weakened little body" that could fight no more, but his spirit is "very much alive".

"Jack deeply loved and appreciated his whole family circle who were there with him caring so much for him," he said.

"I don't think Jack could have been given any more love and tender care than he was given, and shortly before he died he made that known to Tracey and Ian."

Describing the couple as devoted parents who were "always there 24/7" for their son, Pastor Fugard said it was a day that they, Jack's siblings, and the wider family had "dreaded might come, but sadly it has come".

"Today is truly a sad day, it is a day of heartache and heartbreak, a day off deep sorrow and pain, a day of unimaginable loss," he said.

"There is no one who met Jack that can say they were not touched or moved by him."

However he added that it was not a "dark day" because Jack had lived a "short but inspiring" life of profound faith and also had "a great relationship with Jesus".

"Jack was not afraid or ashamed to tell others of Jesus's love for him and his love for Jesus," said the pastor.

"Even though Jack was only 11 years old he had an understanding and spiritual insight of someone much older."

Mourners heard that Jack's dad once had a conversation with his son in which he had asked Jack what he would wish for.

Jack's answer, the pastor stressed, was not to ask for material things, or a trip to Disneyland.

"I doubt if anyone would have guessed what Jack would have wished for," he said.

"Jack told his dad that he would wish that there was no sin in the world.

"That is an astounding and profound wish for an 11-year-old boy."

Pastor Fugard said his heart and prayers go out to the grieving Roycroft family, but also urged them to remember that Jack was no longer in pain.

"Jack believed that when he left his sick body behind here on Earth that his God would have a new body and a new home waiting for him in Heaven.

"In a sense Jack did get what he wished for but not here on this Earth.

"Please take peace and comfort in knowing that Jack will be just fine in his new body, and his new heavenly home, where there is no sin, darkness, death, pain, suffering or tears.

"The last two-and-a-half years were not filled with joy and pleasure for Jack and his family, but for Jack that has all changed now.

"Family and friends, today Jack is with Jesus, his saviour in paradise for all eternity," the pastor added.

Jack is survived by his parents, Ian and Tracey, sisters Lauren and Grace, grandparents Maurice, Bertha, Jim and Yvonne and entire family circle.

He was laid to rest in Banbridge New Cemetery.

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