Tributes to backpacker Jake

Jake O'Grady
Jake O'Grady

The headteacher at the former school of a much-loved backpacker who died in Vietnam is among many who have paid tribute.

Jake O’Grady, a former pupil of Our Lady’s Catholic College in Lancaster, was 26 when he died in Hanoi on New Year’s Day. The cause of his death is unconfirmed.

Headteacher at Our Lady’s Catholic College, Mr Brendan Conboy, said: “The community of Our Lady’s is deeply shocked and saddened by the untimely death of a popular and fondly regarded young man.

“Jake will be remembered for his vibrancy, his caring nature and for his friendly, outgoing manner. His family are in our thoughts and prayers.”

A spokesman for Preston College, which Jake also attended, said: “Jake had ambitions of being an adult nurse. He studied a Health and Social Care Level 2 course followed by an Access to Health professions course at Level 3, which would usually lead to further training in nursing or care work.

“Jake was a considerate, warm and passionate individual who was always supportive of other learners in the group both in their academic life and personal life.

“He studied with us for two years, progressing from a Level 2 diploma with a distinction star and then achieving a distinction in his Level 3 course. Jake made such a positive impact on his fellow students and his tutors, his ability and determination would have made Jake a top class nurse and he will always be in the memories of those who knew him.

“Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Jake’s family.”

Dozens of tributes to Jakehave also been posted on his Facebook page.

One said: “Such devastating news. Gone but by many never forgotten rip Jake O’Grady X x”

Another said: “I hope you’re rocking heaven Jake O’Grady style! Xx it was a pleasure to have known you xxx”

A backpacker who met Jake whilst travelling, wrote a blog in his memory.

Emily Storey wrote: “I know very little about what happened to him, except that some of his very last words to a friend were, ‘I love you so much and if I die, I die happy’.

“And to me that’s all that matters, that such a beautiful human being would die happy with someone he loved by his side. This is a toast, to the incredible man Jake O’Grady and although he isn’t with us now to read it, I’d hope that he’d be looking down from the heavens and smiling, knowing that his love and kindness in the time that I did know him, was not overlooked.”

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said:“We are aware of the death of a British national in Hanoi, Vietnam, on January 1, 2014. We are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time.”

lFriends of Jake have organised a special dance night at the C2 Carleton nightclub in Morecambe to celebrate his life. ‘Let’s Dance for Jake O’Grady’ is on Friday January 17 from 8.30pm until 3.30am.

Tickets for the event will be £10 on the door.