Saying goodbye to ‘precious diamond’ Jack

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Friends and family of much-loved teenager Jack Illand have said goodbye to their brave boy.

Mum Linda, stepdad Ian, dad Duncan and his partner Natalie as well as siblings Harvey, Bethany and Ellie May, were among the hundreds who gathered at St Peter’s Church, Sowerby to say goodbye.

Avril Lavigne’s Day You Slipped Away was played as Jack, who died in his sleep in August, was carried into the church, followed by his family.

Jack was left quadriplegic, brain-damaged, unable to speak and with impaired vision after he was hit by a car while he rode his bike in Ovenden Road, Halifax, in 2005.

Chaplain of Ravenscliffe School, Sandy Maude, said: “At times it was felt Jack would not pull through but he did and although left severely disabled, the fearless, laughing Jack was still there,” she said.

In 2008 fund-raising from the local community meant Jack could go to Mexico for pioneering surgery.

The Rev Maude told the congregation Jack loved listening to music, loved going to the cinema, swimming and going with his family to Blackpool. “Our lives were made richer for knowing Jack. He sometimes found things difficult but he never gave up. His smile and love will not go away. It will be held secure like a precious diamond in the hearts of those who loved him.”

His Aunt Pam read a poem written by dad Duncan. “You’re in our hearts all the days we live in this world and then we can put our loving arms around you, like we used to do.”