Shocked students line streets in respect after sudden death of 'kind and thoughtful' Jack
Students from The Royal School Dungannon lined the streets of the Co Tyrone town yesterday for the funeral of 14-year-old Jack Stafford, who died suddenly on Tuesday.
The Year 10 pupil, described as "quiet" with a "kind, thoughtful demeanour", was laid to rest in Cottagequinn cemetery following a service at Dungannon Baptist Church.
As his friends looked on, grief and shock etched on their young faces, the youngster's coffin, bedecked with flowers, was carried in by loved ones.
Described as a loving son and a dear brother in his funeral notice, Jack's family had requested that donations be made to The Niamh Louise Foundation.
Earlier in the week, school principal Dr David Burnett had expressed "great sadness" at Jack's "sudden and unexpected death".
He said: "He was a popular member of his form class with a close circle of friends who remember his sense of humour and kind, thoughtful demeanour.
"Indeed, as staff and pupils have been talking to one another and remembering Jack, it is clear that Jack's consideration of others was obvious to all who met him and also greatly appreciated by his peers.
"He was the boy who, in the words of one pupil, 'was kind and laughed a lot'; and for another, 'put a smile on our faces'.
"His quirky sense of humour stood out.
"The impact of Jack's loss on the RSD community will be very great indeed."
Dr Burnett said that "a range of support services in school" had been implemented in the wake of Jack's death.
"Any pupil, including pupils on study leave, who feels that he or she would like support at this difficult time, should contact a member of staff," he said.
"In the days ahead we will find ways to remember Jack and his time with us in our community."
The headmaster also extended his thoughts and prayers to Jack's mother, Heather, father Nigel and siblings Stuart, Suzanne, Michelle and Debbie.
He added: "In his attitude and his treatment of others, Jack was the best of RSD.
"We will miss him."