A life tragically cut short – but a life that was undoubtedly fulfilled.

For so many in Pembrokeshire and beyond, the weekend has been tainted by sadness after the news that Jacob Thomas, the former Ysgol Y Preseli pupil who famously represented Team GB in the 2012 London Paralympics, has died aged 25.

Jacob, whose achievements in boccia have ensured a legacy that leaves him among the best sportsmen and women this county has produced, was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy shortly after birth. The genetic condition meant he was confined to a wheelchair for much of his life, but that didn’t stop him achieving his dreams.

After being introduced to boccia as a youngster by Sian Bowen of Sport Pembrokeshire, and then further enouraged by Angela Miles, he never looked back.

His dedication brought him numerous international titles at BC3 level and among his successes were a coveted gold medal at the World Student Games in Brazil, pairs’ bronze at the European Championships, and bronze and silver in the World Championships in Beijing.

He also rose to No 1 in the world rankings in 2015 and then two years later, was the Lifetime Achievement winner at the annual Pembrokeshire Sport Awards.

But undoubtedly, it was London that represented his finest hour. He competed in the team and individual competitions, and poignantly came up against his hero in Greek star Grigorios Polychronidis.

There may not have been any medals at the O2 Arena and the nature of Jacob’s condition meant a short window for his sporting career, but he retired in 2016 with he and his family able to reflect on a few days they would never, ever forget.

Indeed dad Michael, who accompanied him at every competition, mum Caroline and sister Polly, provided huge support to him, whether it be during boccia events or at the family home in Bethesda.

And speaking to Telegraph Sport today, Michael said the response from the local community had been overwhelming.

“Jacob touched so many lives and we have had so many messages. As a family, we would like to thank everyone for supporting us at this difficult time.

“And we also have to express our gratitude to Value Independence in Milford Haven, who took care of Jacob so well.”

Bill Carne, a close family friend and renowned supporter of Jacob's career, added: "Watching him in London remains one of my most memorable sporting moments, made special by such an amazing venue.

"Jacob was a brilliant tactician and Michael did a great job as his ramp loader. He might have taken part in the Paralympics but was an athlete in his own right - a natural competitor, fiercely independent, and one of the nicest people I was ever privileged to meet.

"His loss to Pembrokeshire is enormous, and a star has gone out on our sporting scene."

And another fitting tribute came from old rival Polychronidis, who posted the following message on social media: “You were one of the greatest boccia players and most importantly you were a true gentleman.

“We shared a lot of special moments and matches together. I will always remember the exhibition match we had in Athens, and how excited we both were that we had the opportunity to promote boccia. That is where we became true friends.

“You will be always remembered by the boccia community.”

Indeed he will – but his legacy will extend far beyond his chosen sport.

He’ll be remembered, quite simply, as an inspiration.