Tributes paid to tragic teen runner

TRIBUTES have been paid to a “kind and outgoing” teenager who died after collapsing during a cross-country run with his school.

TRIBUTES have been paid to a “kind and outgoing” teenager who died after collapsing during a cross-country run with his school.

Jack Sheriff, 17, a pupil at Moulsham High School, died on Friday as he took part in an inter-school competition in Hylands Park in Chelmsford.

The keen sportsman, who lived in Little Baddow with his parents Liz and John, was pronounced dead at the scene by a doctor despite the efforts of paramedics.

As news of his death spread, a tribute page was set up by his grieving friends on the social networking site Facebook and the headteacher of his school told of the shockwaves caused by Jack's death.

Dr Chris Nicholls, headteacher at Moulsham School, said yesterday that the atmosphere had been very quiet as news spread of Jack's death.

He said: “It has been a huge shock. I think the fact it happened when he was still with us as a student is the biggest shock.

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“It has had a big impact on the school - it was quite calm here yesterday as I think people were still in shock.

“There are a lot of flowers on the railings of the school gates which I think is helping people as the students are going to look at them.”

Dr Nicholls said Jack had been a very talented sportsman, excelling in athletics, swimming, rugby and badminton.

“He loved sport and this was just not something that could have been anticipated,” he said.

“He was an energetic, happy-go-lucky sort of kid and was really getting the best out of life.

“He was a keen sportsman and wanted to take part in everything he could, but he was also a very good artist and that was his chosen career path.”

Dr Nicholls said Jack, who was studying his A-levels, was planning to do a foundation year and then head to university to study art.

He added: “He comes from a very close family and he was very fond of them.

“He was a chirpy, cheeky lad and had a great sense of fun and was just great to teach.

“Jack had a great sense of living his life with so much passion which makes this all the more tragic.”

Dr Nicholls said the students would be given time to grieve and remember Jack before any decision was taken about a lasting memorial to the teenager.

He also revealed that Jack's friends were hoping to carry out fundraising in his memory and were considering completing the cross-country course en-masse in a symbolic gesture.

Vowing that Jack would “never be forgotten” the Facebook page already had more than 600 members yesterday with grieving friends of the teenagers sharing their memories of him.

It was set up by Lawrence Hale, who wrote: “I like to remember him as a lively, fun and outgoing person who would do anything to make you laugh and would always have a smile on his face.

“He was always up for anything and would do anything for you, he was generous, kind and also someone that you could rely on.

“He will be sorely missed by all of his friends.

“Also our thoughts must go out to his family at this time of despair and sorrow.”

Nearly 150 messages had been left on the site's wall, including one from Chantelle Kelly, who said: “I still can't believe you're gone, I haven't stopped grieving.

“I will forever miss and love you Jack Sheriff.

“I hope you are happy, and in peace.”

“This guy was awesome, I am so deeply upset that this has happened. RIP mate,” said Chris Horley.

And Nick Hemsley wrote: “Am totally shocked bout the news. Jack you are probably my oldest friend going back to when we went to play school around about 14 years ago. Gunna miss you loads big guy love u. R.I.P Jack

And Brogan Fletcher wrote: “Memories will be cherished and photos will be kept. Laughter and tears, drunken nights and sober days are all part of life, but it just won't be the same without you.

“The heartbreak of me and many others of your loss is painful but beyond this, are the people who love you and are left to treasure you, jack. RIP tall one. Love you.”

The cause of Jack's death was not yet known but it is not being treated as suspicious.

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