Tributes paid to Cheltenham College student Jack Bowlby
CLASSMATES and teachers mourning the death of "kind, thoughtful, and hilarious" Jack Bowlby yesterday admitted they still found the news "incomprehensible".
The talented 16-year-old horse rider was discovered dead on Friday morning at the £30,000-a-year Cheltenham College school.
His friends and loved ones are struggling to come to terms with the news.
Friend Saskia Blumer added: "He was kind, thoughtful, sweet and, most of all, hilarious. Jack had one of those smiles that could cheer anyone up, no matter what mood you were in.
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"When one of your friends suddenly isn't there, it makes you remember the smaller things about them – their laugh, their smile, their voice.
Schoolmate Beno Barnes said: "I was lucky to have known Jack for 14 years and we had many great moments together.
"He was always someone we could go and talk to as he was such an honest person and a good listener. I shall miss laughing and joking with him."
Fellow pupil Pip Froud said: "I cannot put into words what he meant to us all at college; to me he was like a brother, somebody I felt comfortable talking to and whom I could relate to. I will miss him."
Others said Jack, the nephew of former racehorse trainer Jenny Pitman, was a great friend, who loved a cup of tea and did impressions of people.
A book of condolences was started and a memorial placed in the college chapel for Jack, who lived in Oxfordshire, and who had competed at the prestigious Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead.
Friends in his year group are organising a memorial service.
House master Simon Conner said: "Jack was an integral part of the house and we are all devastated by his death.
"He was quiet, unassuming and was the kind of person who got on with everyone; he had no enemies, only friends.
"He was a fantastic horse rider, one of the very best, and as a house we were inordinately proud of his success."
Tutor Stephen Morton added: "Jack was a ray of sunshine, always cheerful, quietly confident and self-assured, with an admirable care and concern for others.
"He also had a slightly mischievous glint in his eyes which somehow added further to his considerable charm.
"I watched him compete at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern and it was impossible not to be impressed with the exceptional assurance and poise with which he rode.
"I, along with the whole of Cheltenham College, continue to find what has happened incomprehensible and a terrible tragedy."
In 2010, Jack was a member of the Cheltenham College show jumping team which won the inter-schools show jumping competition.
Last year he rode Lady Anne Vestey's Welsh cob, Kentchurch Charity, to qualify for the 2011 Olympia Mountain and Moorland Final.