Funeral of stabbed teenager Jacob Woudstra a ‘celebration’ of his life

Funeral of Jacob Woudstra, Hastings.
Funeral of Jacob Woudstra, Hastings.

FRIENDS, family and fellow students paid their last respects to stabbed teenager Jacob Woudstra at his funeral on Wednesday.

Bikers, riding on Harley-Davidsons, led the procession from the 17-year-old’s home in Mount Pleasant Road to Hastings Crematorium as Jacob’s coffin was driven in a black hearse.

Jacob was a fan of Harley-Davidsons, as is his dad Steve.

More than 300 mourners attended the memorial service and The Hollies’ song, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, played in the chapel before Jacob’s coffin was brought in.

Jonathan Mendenhall, who conducted the service, pointed out that it was not a funeral but more a ‘celebration’ of the teenager’s life.

On behalf of Jacob’s family, he spoke of the teenager as a ‘lively little boy, always hungry, always inquisitive who blossomed into a perceptive and highly intelligent teenager’.

Mr Mendenhall also spoke of Jacob’s love of James Bond films and his encyclopaedic knowledge of each one.

“Heading towards teenage years, Jacob had a healthy appetite for sport, such as football and rugby, being a loose head prop at William Parker,” he added.

After the tributes were given Bob Marley’s song, Trench Town Rock, was played in the chapel, reflecting Jacob’s love for the signer’s music when he was younger.

Mr Mendenhall then read from Footprints in the Sand, a piece of prose that describes a dream in which the dreamer is walking on the beach with God.

Afterwards he read a poem called Crossing Over, chosen by one of Jacob’s friends.

The song, The Whole of the Moon, by The Waterboys, was then played in the chapel before Mr Mendenhall read Psalm 23, The Lord is My Shepherd.

The congregation was then invited to say The Lord’s Prayer before Jacob’s body was committed.

Mr Mendenhall, speaking on behalf of the teenager’s family and friends, said: “Jacob’s family have been strengthened by the many acts of kindness of those around them. Grief is the price we often pay for love but it is reassuring to recognise that in these times we are bonded by a common compassion, the one quality which singles out the human race.

“Jacob is now a free soul. He is someone, who in his short life, touched many others. He was indeed well-loved.”

He said bereaved family and friends were not leaving Jacob behind once his funeral was over because the teenager ‘cannot and never will be forgotten’.

Mr Mendenhall then gave the Gaelic Blessing before All Along the Watchtower, by Jimmy Hendrix, was played as the mourners left.

A wake was held at the Silverhill Club afterwards.

Jacob was stabbed in the chest in The Shah pub on Thursday, April 5, just yards from his home. He was with his 19-year-old brother Levi.

Paramedics fought to save his life but he sadly died shortly afterwards.

The teenager attended William Parker Sports College before joining Parkwood Sixth Form where he was studying A-levels. He was on his Easter holidays when his life was tragically cut short.

Adam Skilton, 42, of Wilton Road, Bexhill, has been charged with the murder of Jacob. He will appeared at Lewes Crown Court on June 22.

Wesley Long, 34, of High Street, is charged with perverting the course of justice and has been remanded in custody to appear at Lewes Crown Court on June 22.