Tears for Jake Jake left his mark on people’s lives

IF THE number of tears shed is an indication of the mark he made on people's lives, Jake Alan Collins left a lifelong impression in the hearts and minds of everyone he met.

Hundreds gathered at Lismore's St Andrews Anglican Church yesterday to celebrate the life of the 19-year-old from Clunes who died from injuries sustained in a crash at Bexhill nine days ago.

Outside the church about 200 people, many of them crying, stood solemnly as Youth Group's song Forever Young played, opening an emotional service.

The shared sadness of the crowd was reflected by the number of people, both male and female, wiping tears from their eyes and being comforted by loved ones.

Choking back tears, Jake's mother Kyleen spoke of the life of her only boy.

"When he was born he was a true angel, then he teethed, and learned to walk at eight months old," she said.

"Since then we never stopped chasing him.

"You could never be mad at Jake for long when he looked at you with his beautiful smile."

Mrs Collins spoke about her son being awarded a soccer scholarship in the USA, his love of soccer, Futsal, going to the gym and socialising with friends.

"Our beautiful boy never drank, never smoked or did drugs," she said.

"I don't really know how to finish Jake's amazing life story ... he was so young and beautiful."

Jake's sister Monique said her brother was an amazing man who had made everyone proud.

"Once you became friends with Jake there was no turning back, you were family," she said.

Best friend Kim Andrews encouraged friends and family to live every day like it's their last, to honour Jake's memory.

"Nothing else matters when you leave someone with a smile on their face, and he sure did that for us," he said.

As Avril Lavigne's When You're Gone played, a procession of people followed Jake's coffin out of the church, most of them crying.

Then 19 blue balloons were released in the sky over Lismore as a final tribute to a special young man.

Jake was cremated in a private ceremony before family and friends continued to celebrate his life at Clunes Coronation Hall.

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