Funeral For 9 Year Old Who Died In Rope Swing Tragedy

After 9-year-old James Bray died suddenly in Bishops Waltham on Tuesday, July 13th, family and friends have paid tribute at his funeral.

Jamie was unconscious when his mother found him in the garden of the house in Bishops Waltham, Hampshire. She desperately tried to resuscitate him until paramedics arrived, but he couldn't be revived.

Jamie was taken to Southampton General Hospital at about 5pm on July 13 where he was pronounced dead.

Jamie attended St John the Baptist School in Waltham Chase and was a keen horserider, his family said.

Officers from Hampshire Police are investigating but there are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances. An inquest into the death has been opened and adjourned to a date still to be set.

His funeral was held at St John's the Baptist Church in Shedfield today. Jamie's uncle Chris Wheal said:

"The church was packed with nearly half the mourners children.''

He said that candles were lit during the service by friends and family members. He added: "The coffin and family left to the sound of Chasing Cars, by Snow Patrol.''

The eulogy to Jamie, written by his parents, Sarah, 42, and Richard, 41, was read out by the vicar, Reverend Bruce Deans.

It said: "We first knew Jamie was special, when we noticed he could move from one side of the room to another, when he was just six weeks old.

"He would wriggle like a worm, always on a mission to get anywhere other than where he was put. He crawled early, walked early and then he was running everywhere.''

It added: "He never conformed to the norm and would often say or do things that were totally unsuitable, yet he did things with such a cheeky, adorable grin, that everyone would have to hide their smiles.''

And the eulogy ended with: "Jamie adored his family, adored his animals and just lived life to the absolute full, with never a dull moment or unhappy thought.

"We hope his memory is an inspiration to adults and children, on how to enjoy the simple pleasure in life and always to smile.''

About Jamie

Jamie Bray was born 3.04.2001. He attended St John the Baptist School in Waltham Chase. He was a busy, active child who loved maths, science and building things. He was a member of Solent Riding Club Juniors. His beloved pony was Mini, who he loved to jump, gallop, compete on and care for. He was also a member of Ryukin Ryu Karate Club.

Below are tributes from friends of the family:

Alison Burgess: Just the thought of Jamie will always make me smile a lot. I will always remember; he laughed - a lot, smiled a lot, was cheeky a lot, had a lot of energy, and spread a lot of happiness wherever he was. Oh and that the Typewriter Song will always be his song J Do you remember him careering (sorry) cantering round the school to that - with a huge grin on his face, feet pushed through the stirrups like a jockey!

Sally Kidd: How will I remember Jamie?  He was all boy, everything that a boy should be.  We went for a Mothers Day ride as a treat to us Mums, and Jamie came on his pony Minnie. To steady the young horse of his Mum we walked and trotted for the first half an hour.  Every few minutes a little voice would ask "Can we gallop yet?"  When we did start cantering this same voice would ask "Can we go faster?" and when we stopped to let the horses have a breather his question would be "Are we going to have another gallop?"? That was Jamie, extracting every ounce of fun and excitement from all of life's experiences.  ? ?He showed his caring nature in many ways too. I also remember the grand plan he had with his elder brother. Sam was going to run an animal sanctuary, and Jamie was going to be a vet to help him care for the sick animals.

Sarah Cove: Jamie was a bright and cheerful boy who was always on the go.  Whatever mischief he created you could never get very cross cause he'd look at you with that cheeky smile and all was forgiven.  All that said Jamie was very sensitive to others and hated people being upset.  He took my little girl Molly under his wing when she was too young too join in with the "big ones" and made sure she wasn't left out. Jamie was one of the good ones and will be sadly missed by all who new him.
My daughters and I have a very vivid memory of young Jamie sledging at the beginning of this year.  We all went up to the highest hill close by with friends and the children all flew down the hill!  Jamie went higher and faster than everyone else and laughed hysterically all the way down before landing in a heap at the bottom.

From Heidi and John Dennis: Jamie was a hectic little chap who always had the biggest, fastest, highest, longest, bravest attitude in life. He was a breath of fresh air and that is what will always remain in our memories. You were a light that always shone, and one that had the ability to light a room no matter what. The energy you gave others was invigorating and we are privileged to have been in your life.
We are unable put into words just how we feel, nor are there words for this, but what we can say is that you will always be loved, missed and regarded as a special part of our lives.

From Richard, Nancy, Sophie and Tasha Harris


Snowy days, Jamie going a million miles an hour down the hill on the sledge at Stephens Castle downs, sliding neatly under a bramble bush and just laughing and laughing...
Solent riding club Show, In the open showing class, Jamie cantering though the line up and "whispering" very loudly, "Sophie am I going too fast?" he had the judge in stitches.!!


"There are many happy memories I have of Jamie, the water fights in the back garden, the snowy days with Jamie going one hundred million miles an hour down the field with the rest of us behind going a little slower! I also remember a water fight with Sophie and Jamie against Sam and I and we all got completely drenched! I remember a bbq at Sam and Jamies house when Jamie ate all the pringles at once!!
Another snowy day when Sam and Jamie and Sophie and I tried to make an Igloo with Chloe and Penny "helping"
I also remember in our garden when Jamie went down our zip wire and hit the trampoline and Jamie just laughing and laughing!

"sleepovers in the tent in the garden when all was quiet and they were supposed to be a sleep then some whispers and giggles and the four of them bouncing on the trampoline in sleeping bags at 1 in the morning!!


My favourite memory will always be when you all set out for a hack round the lanes, you in front the proud mother Duck with the four little duckings trotting behind, at the back the last , cheekiest little duckling was Jamie on his beloved Mini.

From Denise Hallion: Jamie Bray used to attend the training days I do for the Solent Riding Club.
He was such fun.... always smiling..... always trying his best... always up for a challenge.
On this particular day we were all practising sitting trot, without stirrups.  But whenever we got to that part of the lesson, Jamie would beg to ride without his stirrups, which I might add most children don't enjoy at all.  As always, Sarah was watching the lesson with a big smile on her face in  absolute adoration  and bursting with pride for her children, I loved that look on her face. And Jamie would say, 'Please, Mum can I canter without stirrups', and Sarah would shake her head. And he was always so disappointed.  And this lesson was no different, and Jamie said 'Please Mum can I canter without stirrups, and finally Sarah nodded her head. Jamie was delighted and so excited.  Off went the stirrups and in no time Jamie was cantering around the indoor arena, with the biggest smile on his face, and Mini (the pony) really concentrating and looking after Jamie, and Mum smiling at her son.   And that was yet another big step forward in Jamie's riding career.  What a beautiful moment to be a part of!

From the family

From Sarah Bray, Jamie's mum: Jamie started riding aged 3 years old. He was riding round the lanes - off the lead-rein by the age of 4 years, which is pretty much unheard of. He was the youngest ever JUNIOR to represent a riding club on an AREA DRESSAGE TEAM, aged just 7 years old. He had jumping lessons with the local showjumper who said he had never met such a fearless child or adult in his life…..
He has been attending Karate for 2 years. He was a yellow belt and was just about to take his grading for the next level.
Everything he did, he put 100% enthusiasm and fun into.

From Ann Wheal, Jamie's granny (Sarah's mum): Jamie loved camping and our camper van especially. He loved it so much that when there was only Jamie and me at home we slept in the campervan on our own driveway.
For his 9th birthday we went to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford to investigate further the truth about Concorde. However, I suspect the best bit was sleeping in the camper van on the way there.
He also loved camping when his brother, Sam and 2 cousins, Joe and Molly, came. We had many great visits to the New Forest where they rode their bikes, jumped and waded in the water, sang 'Jamie adapted' camp fire songs and generally ate us out of house and home.

From Sandra Bray (Nene to Jamie and Richard's mum): Jamie loved to go to Devon with his brother Sam to spend holidays with his grandparents. His favourite place to go was the Adventure Park, where he would go on the fastest, highest ride and while we waited with baited breath, he would immerge his face full of pleasure and shrieking with joy. He would then immediately line up to have another go!
He would love to play bingo and all the neighbours would be called in to swell the numbers.  Jamie would love to be the caller, he would make everyone laugh and they would be saying - "hurry up Jamie" or "we wont be home till midnight".  Of course that was his aim!
His great-grandmother used to call him "her cheeky monkey" and that's what he was!
We will miss him and love him forever.
Nena and Grandad

From Molly Wheal (cousin, aged 12):  Every moment with Jamie was a blast as he was a crazy, cheeky child who would make you laugh. One time when it was just Jamie and me in granny and grandads campervan and we would start waving at random people and see if they would wave back. When we saw one man with his number plate saying DEREK, we held up a sign saying HI DEREK and he would wave back. I also remember Jamie having a whole pack of chewing gum in his mouth in one go. There was so much gum in his mouth that (for once) Jimbob couldn't speak.

From Peter Wheal, grandfather (Sarah's dad): Jamie was magic. Jamie was a contradiction. He could be annoying. He could be wilful and disruptive. He could behave beautifully, be charming and witty and be very loving - and all in the same day. All in the same hour if you wanted.  Just when you had had it up to here with him, he could charm you with one smile and all would be forgiven.  Whether he was being good or disruptive he did it 100% - no half measures with Jamie.
Jamie was quick on the up-take, it wasn't easy to put one over on him - but he never really worked out how, at mealtimes, I could steal his spoon or fork without him seeing and hide it on the back of his chair.
 He was inquisitive and was an experimenter. Whether it was playing with water and bits of drain pipe or mixing sherbet into vinegar he would always want to try another combination to see what happened. He was a designer - his lego models were of a standard beyond his years. Once when he was quite small and very into his Lego model making I went up stairs to see if he was OK as he'd been up there a long time and was very quiet. "You OK, Jamie?"  I said.   "Yes, thank you,  Grandad, but I'd like you to go back downstairs as I want to work on my own"
He liked making things and recently had learned to do a plan first - and he nearly always wanted to make something that, in truth, was beyond him - or was it? Once he saw how to do certain things he was always ready to have a shot at it himself. We made a platform together once, over a couple of freezing cold days. I wanted to stop and go indoors to the warmth of the fireside but single-minded Jamie insisted we work on.  Eventually, after cutting and measuring and fixing each piece of platform separately we were done - and frozen to the marrow. He then told me that I could have cut all the pieces of wood roughly to length, then fitted them, and then cut along with a jigsaw to get them all to the correct length - and he was right.
He had a wisdom and maturity beyond his years and he was compassionate.  When he was about 6 years old I'd given him a particularly hard time one morning when he was being disobedient to his mother. That evening he and I were in the car waiting to collect brother Sam. All day I'd been very upset about my behaviour that morning and began to cry silently,  turning away from Jamie in the hope that I could get a grip on myself and not let him see me upset. " Why are you giggling , Grandad ?" he said.  I then explained to him through floods of tears that I had been wrong to behave badly towards him that morning and I promised him that I'd never do it again. He thought for just a few seconds and said " I forgive you Grandad"
The thing that Jamie was best at was being happy. Yes, he had his frustrating moments, but no one was so consistently happy, day in and day out as Jamie was.
Like I said - Jamie was magic


Donations are to be made to St John the Baptist School OR Cancer Research UK - the donations are being handled by Nigel Chamberlain & Partners, Funeral Directors, Bishops Waltham.