Friends pay respect to boy killed by lightning strike

Jayden Morrissey was killed after being struck by lightning. Photo: Supplied Harry Hofman died suddenly from a ruptured spleen. Photo: Supplied

There’s no rugby league club in Australia doing it tougher than the Thornton Beresfield Bears, after news filtered through on Saturday evening that a second teenage player from the club had died in less than a fortnight.

Days after the death of Harry Hofman, 19, who died suddenly from a ruptured spleen at his Beresfield home near Newcastle on October 21, the club was made aware last night, on the eve of its presentation day, that another one of its own had died in tragic circumstances.

Fifteen-year-old Jayden Morrissey, who attended Francis Greenway High School, was killed after being struck by lightning at One Mile Beach in Port Stephens while hanging out with two school friends.

“It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the sudden death of Jayden Morrissey,” the Beresfield Bears posted on their Facebook page. “Our thoughts, prayers and sincerest condolences to family, friends and all who are affected.”

Friends and family have paid tribute to the year 9 student, who was an avid footballer and referee who loved the beach. They have remembered him as a polite and cheerful boy

“I really can’t believe it, to think I was just with him on Friday and texting him a few hours before he passed away breaks my heart,” Emmalee O’Brien, a school friend of Jayden’s, told Fairfax Media. “When I heard the news I was absolutely shattered, it still feels like a nightmare and I’m going to go to school on Monday and I’ll walk into class and he will be sitting there waiting for me.

“He had such a beautiful soul and always put people before him. Jayden was always the first kid to stick up for me when I was getting picked on and always was cheering me up when I was down.”

Dozens of people paid their respects on social media to Jayden.

“No one will ever forget you mate such a stand out great guy,” Jack Cunningham wrote on a photo, while Kristy Bashford said: “You will be greatly missed Jayden, you were a great kid xxx,” Kristy Bashford wrote on a friend’s status update.

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