% This Teenage Girl Cuddled Her Sweetheart After His Family Had Made The Most Heartbreaking Decision


They say the first cut is the deepest and that young love is incredibly strong. Once teenager Stephanie Ray was done cuddling her boyfriend, however, she was faced with a terrible reality. And as a result, she had to make an impossible choice.

The heatwave of summer 2018 touched almost every region of the U.K., including Wales. So it’s not surprising that 16-year-old Blake Ward decided to go out for a swim in the sea one day. At the time, he was visiting the town of Tywyn in Gwynedd on a family trip.

Blake and two other teenagers from the same family had gotten into the water to try and cool off, but they soon ran into problems. You see, a strong current caught them and swept the teens out away from the shore. Yet it wasn’t clear at first that anything was wrong.

In fact, Stephanie’s mother, Rebecca Ray, explained that from a distance their shouts sounded like laughter. “We’d arrived on the Sunday and the weather had not been too good, so on Tuesday when the sun came out we headed for the beach. They were only five minutes ahead of us,” she told The Sun.

“When we got to the beach I could hear them shouting, and at first I thought it was screams of laughter,” Rebecca explained. “Then I said to my sister, ‘Are they in trouble?’ We dumped everything and ran over to the rocks.”

Image: Sue Adair

By the time the women got there, however, the teens needed more help than they could give. Consequently, the young swimmers had to be pulled from the water by Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers, who administered CPR. Blake was then flown to Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Although Blake had coveted a military career – and had been in very good shape – he hadn’t been a good swimmer. And tragically his turmoil in the sea had left him with severe brain damage. So as his family stood next to his hospital bed, they had little hope of him surviving.

Image: Julie Viken

His mother and father had not taken the trip to the beach with the other family members and had not been there to witness the tragic events. They subsequently hurried to be by their son’s bedside.

As Blake lay in hospital, his girlfriend, Stephanie, rushed to be there too, determined to stay with her childhood sweetheart. Yet it was all for naught: doctors determined that Blake would not be able to recover and that his life-support machine should be switched off.

There was nothing left for Stephanie to do but climb into bed with her paramour and let him know that he wasn’t alone. It was the best way she could think of to say goodbye to the boy she loved. Someone captured the tender moment on camera, and afterwards the picture of the young lady in the hospital bed letting her boyfriend go was shared widely.

A subsequent Facebook post from Stephanie described Blake’s passing. “Today has been the hardest day for me, and it will be a day I will never be able to forget. As some of you may know, Blake was involved in a terrible accident on Tuesday.”

“We were told yesterday that Blake would never recover and his brain was too damaged,” Stephanie’s post read. “We had to make the hard decision of turning his machine off and [letting] him go. But just know Blake wasn’t in any pain, and he passed away with his family around him.”

After Blake passed away, tributes were made to remember this young man. Several people left flowers outside the school he attended in his home town of Dudley. Many people wrote notes and attached them alongside.

Image: Mirror

This included Stephanie, whose note was photographed and appeared online. “To my baby boy. I know you are in a better place and not in pain,” it said. “I’m gonna make you proud, I promise. We had our ups and downs, but we got through them. Love you, my precious angel, sleep tight.”

But the memorials didn’t end there. The headmistress of Blake’s school decided to honor the boy during a speech she gave to pupils, for instance. Considering the young man had only moved to Wolverhampton six months previously, it speaks to the impact that this tragic event had.

And while Blake may have later died, the coastguard and other emergency services had done their part to try and save him. Consequently, they tried to display their condolences by holding a flypast during a special event to celebrate his life.

Image: Magnus D

Blake’s death was a tragic example of a life cut short far too soon. There was, however, a small silver lining that could offer some of his loved ones a modicum of comfort. At the special request of his family, some of Blake’s organs were donated to those in dire need.

Image: MikeMcC

This isn’t the first time that the area has suffered a tragedy as a result of drowning, either. When two girls got into difficulties back in 2015, 74-year-old Richard Guest died during a rescue attempt. Ultimately the girls were saved, but Guest never made it back.

Image: Penny Mayes

Stephanie’s mother therefore argued that it was time for the beach to get adequate lifeguard cover. “We can hope that lessons can be learnt from this,” she told Cambrian News. “We hope it will help to get the proper people onto the beach so this will never ever happen again.”

Image: Mark.murphy

That being said, it doesn’t look likely that the beach will be monitored more closely. The local council insists, in fact, that the funding isn’t available to bring RNLI lifeguards to the beach in question. A crowdfunding page for Blake’s wake promises, however, to use any excess as a donation to the air ambulance and others.

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