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

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

Eternity Medical Equipment’s ECAN95 masks have received Health Canada approval and CSA certification. (Eternity Medical Equipment photo)
South Surrey N-95 equivalent manufacturer launches mask recycling program

Eternity Medical Equipment partners with Ontario-based LifeCycle Revive

Surrey Fire Service at a garage fire in the 14400-block of 82A Ave on March 22, 2021. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
‘Perfect storm’ of variants, increasing COVID cases are concerning for Surrey fire chief

Between police and fire, Larry Thomas said there are 8 confirmed cases, 18 others isolating

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Small plane crashes at Delta’s Boundary Bay Airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

Signage on a South Surrey sidewalk reminds pedestrians to respect social-distancing guidelines. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey records 4,400 COVID-19 cases in March

New cases almost doubled between February, March

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Most Read