Village struggling to accept death of eight-year-old

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The village where a schoolboy was killed during a walk to school could yesterday talk about nothing else but the heartbreaking tragedy.

A special assembly service was held by classmates and staff at Clough Primary School in memory of eight-year-old Adam Gilmour.

He died after being knocked down by a car as he walked to school with his mother Sarah Hanna and five siblings.

The crash happened on Tuesday morning in Cloughmills.

It is understood Ms Hanna and another son, Ryan, are still in hospital receiving treatment for serious but non-life threatening injuries. Another brother, Kyle, escaped injury, while the other children were treated for minor injuries.

Michelle Johnston, Ms Hanna’s sister, who also lives in the village, said the tragedy has had a huge impact.

“The mood in the area is not great,” she told the News Letter.

“A whole lot of people have been here. All the neighbours are shocked, the whole village is just stunned. They can’t really believe it has happened.

“I am devastated myself, I can’t get over it.”

Ms Johnston added: “They have now found that Sarah has four broken bones - two in her neck as well as two in her back.”

Doctors are hoping she will be able to make a full recovery, she said.

The children’s father Stephen is also “just devastated”.

The post-mortem on Adam came back yesterday and confirmed the details of the fatal injuries that caused his death, she added.

“Sarah just wants to be with him; she has taken it really bad. But she will not even be able to get to his funeral.”

Adam’s brother Ryan was being treated for a fractured hip at the Royal Victoria Hospital, but they have now also found fractures in his two femurs, she added.

DUP councillor John Finlay, who also lives in the village, said the tragedy is on everyone’s lips.

He said: “Ninety per cent of people are talking about this. Anywhere you go people are stopping you to ask about the family, even in Ballymoney.”

He was on his way to meet Ms Hanna’s sister to see what support could be offered.

Cahal McLaughlin, a Sinn Fein councillor, lives close to the site of the crash.

“People in the village are just absolutely devastated,” he said.

“As a family man, I have been thinking about it all day; for a mother and the other children to see their brother die like that...The whole community is talking about it.”

The Board of Governors at Clough Primary School issued a statement saying Adam had been “full of fun and wit” and will be “sadly missed by all his class friends, school friends and staff”.

“The thoughts and prayers of the Board of Governors, staff and entire school community are with the family at this time,” the statement added.

Principal JC Whyte said Adam had been “a pleasant pupil”.

One of the teachers noted that he “loved to be there first and help her set out the equipment for PE”, he said.

He also “loved” playing the drum kit, which the principal said he had first-hand experience of; Adam went for lessons next to his office.

Mr Whyte told the BBC that Adam had been “such a character to his classmates”, whom they knew as a “fun loving guy that kept them going at times”.

Patrick Frew of Cloughmills Community Action Team agreed that “the whole village is in shock”.

He added: “It takes a while for something like this to sink in.”

Adam’s whole family circle lives in the village, he added.

It was like “banging your head off a brick wall” with regards to getting action on road safety, he told the BBC.

Ms Hanna and her children were reportedly struck by a car from behind as they walked to school.

Police said that an 18-year-old man, arrested in connection with the fatal collision, was released on Tuesday on police bail pending further inquiries.