Belfast Telegraph

Schoolboy Jack Roycroft who died after brave cancer battle was 'wee warrior'

Inspirational: Jack Roycroft
Inspirational: Jack Roycroft

By Annamay McNally

A young Co Armagh boy who lost a two-year battle with cancer has been described as a "beautiful child" with a strong faith and a "profound" understanding of spirituality.

Jack Roycroft, who was 11, passed away peacefully at his home in Lurgan on Saturday, surrounded by his parents Ian and Tracey and sisters Lauren and Grace.

The popular young lad was diagnosed with a rare form of tumour at the age of nine, after complaining of pain in his side.

Tributes have been paid by family and friends of the youngster, as well as by the children's cancer charity, Angel Wishes, which described him as inspirational.

In a social media post on Saturday night, the charity wrote: "Jack was one of our very first children when we started Angel Wishes and to say he was a fighter is an understatement.

"Jack had a smile, a personality and a genuine love for life, he will be missed beyond words by everyone who had the total pleasure of knowing him.

"Our thoughts and prayers go to Jack's entire family at this devastating time. Jack, to know you was to love you, xxxx."

Meanwhile, Pastor Jim Fugard of the Church of The Nazarene in the Co Armagh town, where Jack's funeral will be held tomorrow, told the Belfast Telegraph the boy's deep religious faith belied his young age.

"I called him my wee warrior," Pastor Jim continued.

"He suffered a lot but he didn't complain. He was a lovely child, very compassionate.

"Jack was a beautiful little boy, a boy of faith. He told people he had faith in God and had an understanding that was beyond his years for spiritual things.

"His aunt first took him to the church when he was nine and that day he told me, 'I'm a Christian'.

"He wanted me to tell him Bible stories and loved to listen, he just drank everything in. His faith was real and genuine."

Pastor Fugard said he had visited Jack's family home on Saturday and told how his parents and sisters were being supported by a close circle of relatives, friends and community.

"At the minute they are holding up well. They have a very good support network," he said.

"When I was at their home on Saturday there was another lady there who had lost a child to cancer, as well as a representative of a charity which helps provide a support network for parents and families who have been affected by cancer."

Jack's funeral will take place tomorrow, leaving his home at 12.30pm for a service in the Church of The Nazarene, Mourne Road, Lurgan at 1.30pm, followed by interment in Banbridge New Cemetery.

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