Eulogy delivered by Humanist Celebrant Allyson Hayter

And so perhaps the best place to start is right at the beginning and the beginning was a winter’s day, 15 January 2004 when Kelly gave birth to this cheeky chappie.

He looked just like his mam, always did even as he got older.

She already had a son before him, Ross who was four when Jamie came along.

And she was a lovely mam, she worked for her parents Joe and Shelley for a time while the boys were little.

But I think it’s fair to say that she had her hands full with young Jamie.

Ross had been a quiet bairn but this one was like lightning.

He was the kind of kid who you didn’t dare take your eyes off for two seconds.

He had two speeds; stop and run, he never walked.

The other mam’s where they lived in Pelton Fell can remember seeing Jamie wearing nothing but a pair of wellies and just taking off of the street.

He was a live wire all right, and you didn’t turn your back on him.

But he was a canny bairn and he adored his brother.

Now I think that we all know that tragically when Jamie was only four years old he suffered perhaps the biggest trauma any child could ever suffer, in the loss of his mam in horrific circumstances.

And that is something that can’t have failed to affect the rest of his life.

It’s at times like this that we most need the love and support of our family members and Jamie was fortunate, I think in the sense that he had his brother and his grandparents, and they were able to offer some solace, and provide a loving and stable home for Jamie.

And so that is what they did. One thing that Jamie has never been short of throughout his life, was love.

The two boys moved in with their granny and granda, and for a time Jamie clung to Ross like a little Koala bear.

But gradually life began to go on, and the world kept turning.

Shelley and Joe bought a caravan around that time, and they were able to give those lads some wonderful memories of holidays and weekends away all around the Northumberland area, Beadnell was a favourite.

And throughout his life, Jamie had a great love of the outdoors, and so these precious times spent at the caravan were just perfect for him.

He got to go kayaking, fishing. Ross would row and Jamie would fish.

They had a pair of wetsuits as well and they would go jumping off the harbour wall into the sea.

Because as we already know, Jamie was a kid who had absolutely no fear whatsoever.

That never changed as he got older.

He was a proper daredevil.

And he had so much energy!

But the beaches of the Northumberland are huge and often empty and so that was handy because they were able to just let him run, and that’s what he did, he ran for miles on those beaches.

And as he got older it became clear that Jamie was an absolutely brilliant runner, so much so that he earned himself the nickname Forest Gump.

He was fast but he had stamina as well and he enjoyed doing the long distance and cross-country running.

He ran for the school, and he even tried for the county and came ninth.

And it’s so often the way isn’t it?

When somebody is good at one sport, they seem to have a talent for everything they turn their hand to.

And sure enough sport was a big part of Jamie’s life.

He was a talented footballer, and in fact there was talk of him going to the Sunderland Academy at one time.

He played cricket, he was a great swimmer, and every year when Joe used to take him up to Lambton estate to do some clay pigeon shooting he was a crack shot at that as well.

He attended Rosebery primary school and then Hermitage, but he didn’t fare that well at school.

And in time he went to an alternative school (PACC] and they really seemed to be able to get the best of him there.

And of course they had all sorts of activities going on, which suited Jamie right down to the ground: Mountain biking, potholing and all kinds.

Not so long ago they were raising money for toilets for Africa and there are many things that you could think of to do to fund raise for that but Jamie just went for it ……. And dressed up as a toilet.

It went down a storm, and he raised the most money out of everyone.

The teachers loved him, well let’s face it with that smile how could you not?

I mean don’t get me wrong, he was no angel.

But for all he’s been in a few scrapes over the years, he’s never been a bad lad, and it was impossible not to love him.

And at home Jamie’s had loads of mates, he’s always enjoyed hanging about with his friends, getting up to mischief, shooting videos and posting them on Facebook of all of his antics.

Because I mentioned that he had no fear, well that never changed.

I mean you never wanted to dare Jamie because he would just do it.

Summers were often spent down in Chester Park, and there are videos of Jamie jumping off the blue bridge, or riding his bike down the bank into the water.

Just for a laugh you know, just like you do.

There were some great days, him and his mates in the summer getting the bus down to South Shields to spend a day on the beach.

I’m sure you all remember the time when someone had a helium balloon and Jamie set fire to it on the bus.

That caused a few screams from the girls.

But he was a popular lad and he had lots of friends.

Girlfriends too, there was Libby and then later Gracie, both just from their little gang of mates.

And there have been some good times.

It was the same in the family, everybody has a soft spot for Jamie.

He enjoyed his holidays as well over the years with his granny and Granda and Ross.

They’ve been to places like Ibiza, Gran Canaria and even Amsterdam, which was a brave move letting him go there mind!

Somehow he managed to lose his shoes on the boat but if that’s all that happened…..

But you know for all his antics and carry on, there was a certain sensitive side to Jamie that not everybody saw.

He was good at art for example.

And when Shelley and Joe were decorating their house Jamie just seemed to have a good eye for what worked and what didn’t, and he chose most of the decoration that’s in their house at the moment.

Even times when he suggested things that they thought wouldn’t work, they did it and it looks amazing.

Although Shelley was a bit worried a while ago when he said that he’d bought her a new rug, but when she went in it turned out to be just Jamie lying spread eagled on the floor wearing a tiger print onesie.

And here’s something a lot of people might not have known about him.

He was a canny cook as well.

He made a cracking Pavlova every Christmas.

But he could turn his hand to all kinds, he would get his herbs out and a bit of steak or chicken.

He made cakes, and a lovely mac and cheese.

And I’m told that he made the best cup of tea ever.

But then he would wouldn’t he because he had plenty of practice at making cups of tea.

Jamie loved his tea – and his jaffa cakes and that’s how he earned himself the nickname ‘Jaffa’.

And so when he wasn’t out with his mates Jamie passed his time contentedly at home.

He loved taking photographs, things like the night sky or beautiful sunsets which he knew that his granny always loved.

And three years ago he got his little dog, a cocker spaniel called Robbie, and he had a lot of help from his Granda in looking after him but he absolutely loved that dog.

Gradually over the years he has begun to settle down a lot, and he was over the moon to get a job with Callum working for his landscape gardening business.

He was very proud of that job, you only have to look on his Facebook page to see how many pictures his posted of all the work they’ve done.

And Callum reckons that he was a cracking worker.

But of course that work suited Jamie down the ground because he loved to be outside, and him and Callum have had some laughs, he loved to hear all Callum’s stories about some of his escapades over the years in the army, and he was so proud of Callum’s medals.

He loved nothing better than a good laugh, and he had a great sense of humour, although it was dry and he told it like it was, you know he had no filter.

But he was funny. And then he would come home and have a couple of bottles of bud by the fire pit with his mates after he’d finished his graft.

Then of course lockdown came and that changed everything for all of us.

But Jamie ticked along canny you know.

He had his ‘man shed’ in the garden and his fire pit, and we’ll not tell anyone but he had a few mates round on the odd occasion, just sitting round the fire and listen to music.

He loved his music even some of the old stuff, and the louder the better, whether the neighbours liked it or not.

And his job seemed to give Jamie focus to his life.

He had plans!

He was hoping in the future to buy a van and go into business alongside Callum.

But Jamie still had his demons, Christmas was always hard, and Mother’s Day and no matter how well supported he was, and how much loved [and he was very much loved] ……..we still have sadly found ourselves here today.

And so let’s take a few moments to listen to a piece of music that Jamie always said he wanted to have as his wedding song.

And while we listen we reflect on the lad that was.

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