A group of Jack’s closest friends sat around a memorial, which they built, Friday afternoon at Crescent Beach. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Train victim’s friends remember Jack: ‘He was a gift’

Teens share memories at makeshift memorial at Crescent Beach

Some of Jack Stroud’s closest friends spent much of Friday in silence, sitting on driftwood logs surrounding a makeshift memorial that they had built that morning.

They constructed a memorial cross and placed it on a rocky section of Crescent Beach, not far from where Jack, 15, was killed two days earlier when he was struck by a passenger train.

Hanging off the cross was a BC Lions football cap and a rugby jersey, denoting two of Jack’s favourite sports. Sports water bottles, team photos and dozens of flowers laid on the ground beneath the cross.

The silence was occasionally broken when one of Jack’s friends – between wiping away tears – shared one of the many memories they had of their friend with each other, and with a visiting reporter whom they welcomed into their fold.

“The only thing bigger than Jack, was his heart,” said one.

The teens smiled as they passed around their phones, sharing photographs they had saved of Jack.

“He could just walk into a room and brighten up the room with his smile,” another friend said.

They said Jack seemed to always have girls by his side, and “oh yeah, he was a hugger.”

In fact, they all agreed, nobody gave a hug quite like Jack.

They said that Jack – who has roots in the U.K. – spent time in California and had hoped to stay there longer.

“He got deported,” a friend said jokingly.

RELATED: Teenager dead after being struck by passenger train in South Surrey

RELATED: High school, swim club offer counselling following death of South Surrey teen

They said Jack was also asked to be a bouncer at a mutual friend’s birthday party, but as it turns out, “he wasn’t a great bouncer” – too friendly.

Friends dropped by the memorial throughout the day, and were even joined at one point by the father of one of the teens in mourning.

The visiting grownup told the teens they need to support each other through the coming days, weeks, months and years.

They responded that they would, and thanked the father for coming to visit.

As Peace Arch News left the emotional gathering, one of the teens chased after with an impassioned request.

“Please tell the story of how he lived, and not how he died,” Rachel Greig, 15, said, her voice cracking.

Jack was – to Rachel, as he was for so many of his peers – trustworthy, supportive, a listener and nonjudgmental.

“I know for me, he absolutely changed my life for the better. I would not be who I am today without him. He was my support system. He could always just kind of tell when something was wrong. You didn’t have to say anything, he would just give you a hug,” Rachel said.

“No matter what, he was there. He always looked after everyone else.”

Rachel said Jack touched many people in the community, and through the past two days she has seen hundreds of people saying a prayer for Jack’s family, which includes a younger and older brother.

“He would walk into a room and make everyone feel better,” Rachel said.

“Nobody could ever say anything bad about him because there was nothing bad about him.”

Another cherished memory of Jack, Rachel said, was his ability to never pass judgment.

“He didn’t judge people. If he heard a rumour he wouldn’t believe it until he knew from the person,” she said.

“He was a gift.”



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

Visit us at peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

APRIL 1: Surrey’s two largest hotels close, BC Hydro offers bill credit

Claiming she has COVID-19, stranger coughs in Cloverdale woman’s face

Clayton Heights woman will now self-isolate for the next two weeks

White Rock/South Surrey experts launch website of mental-health resources

Together White Rock/South Surrey aims to help ease the search for supports

Surrey’s two largest hotels are now closed due to COVID-19; room bookings plummet elsewhere

Guildford’s 77-room Four Points property remains open with ‘minimum amount of business,’ GM says

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

World COVID-19 update: Six million U.S. jobless claims; Russia sends medical aid to U.S.

Comprehensive update with COVID-19 news from around the world

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

VIDEO: Dog missing in Lower Mainland since winter sees his family again for the first time

Aldergrove helped find Buster, says dad, who has now witnessed ‘the power of social media’

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Most Read

l -->