JAK Trueman “touched thousands of lives” and left behind “a little bit of heaven”, his grieving mother told mourners at his funeral yesterday.
Alison Barr said her son – who won the hearts of the nation with his brief but brave battle against cancer – showed life is not about how many years you have, but what you do with them.
Hundreds of mourners, most wearing the colours of 15-year-old Jak’s beloved Rangers, packed into a church in Mid Calder, West Lothian, for the service.
Former Rangers goalkeeper Neil Alexander paid tribute to Jak during the service, saying the teenager had been an “inspiration”.
Jak, a pupil at West Calder High, battled a rare form of blood disease for six months, passing away last Monday.
In that time, the Rangers fan helped raise thousands for charity and inspired many people with his brave and determined fight.
Speaking at Kirk O Calder church, Alison said: “Proud is an understatement about how I feel about my boy. What he achieved in his 15 years here was more than many manage in a lifetime.
“I just don’t know where he got the strength from.”
She added: “If there’s any good to come from this tragedy it’s that my son touched thousands of lives on so many levels.
“He’s inspired us to see the good in any situation but most of all he has left a little bit of heaven with us here.
“Jak’s life shows us that it’s not about the number of years you have, it’s what you do with them. Jak, you’re simply the best.”
Neil Alexander became close friends with Jak while he was ill and it was revealed yesterday that he will be the patron of a charity founded in the boy’s memory.
He told mourners: “Jak’s determination to beat the disease and still smile through it all is an inspiration to me.
“I feel lucky to have met him and I feel honoured to have been asked to be the patron of the charity set up in memory of Jak, Team Jak.”
A touching tribute was also paid by Jak’s music teacher, Mark Traynor, who taught him to play the tuba.
He joked: “If there are tears in my eyes as I speak it’s not because Jak is no longer with us.
“It is because as a Celtic fan I am wearing a Rangers scarf which Jak requested I do.
“Although when I last saw him I made sure to let him know I would be wearing Celtic boxer shorts.”
He added: “It has been a privilege to watch him grow into a handsome young man.”
Jak’s GP and family friend, Iain Macleod, spoke told mourners aabout Jak’s character.
He said: “He was always so positive and concerned for those around him rather than himself.
“Myself and the nurses would look on in awe at what he accomplished in his final weeks. We were constantly saying ‘how on earth did he manage to do that.”
“There was always a never say never attitude with Jak, he touched us all.”
Jak’s coffin, which also reflected his support for Rangers, was red, white and blue with the Rangers’ badge on the sides and top.
The parish church was so packed for the service more than 100 people stood outside while the service was relayed.
The order of service explained that Jak’s dream was to set up Team Jak.
It said: “He wanted a purpose built building which would be called Jak’s Den. It was to be used to bring the community together, not only for cancer patients and their families but for any children and teens of West Lothian and beyond.
“He wanted the building to include such facilities as a large hall for music theatre classes and sports classes, counselling rooms and a claw machine with sweeties.
“He also wanted the family to continue raising funds for lymphoma research as well as helping the hospitals who helped him.”
Jak was diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoma in August last year.
He was in line to take more treatment until scans showed early last week the cancer had spread throughout his body.
He broke the news about being terminal on his Facebook page, Jak’s Journey, saying: “Well, that’s it.
“Worse case scenario has happened. I have been preparing myself for this answer all day although it still came hard to take.”
He added: “I am so sorry to give everyone this horrible news but there’s no other way to put it.
“I would like to thank all the doctors, nurses and everyone who has helped me over the past 6 months, they have tried their best for me.”
His dying wish was to take his girlfriend of 20 months, 14 year-old Hannah Boyd, to the school prom which was held at Livingston Football Club near the family home in Mid Calder, West Lothian.
Despite his rapid deterioration, more than 200 teachers and tearful pupils of his West Calder High saw him fulfil his vow.
His fundraising efforts reached hundreds of supporters world-wide and resulted in more than £33,000 in donations.
In a final touching act, Jak arranged for flowers to be delivered to his family- the day after he died.
Mum Alison Barr revealed that Jak had sent flowers to her, his gran and his girlfriend Hannah.