‘Great turnout for our Aaron’

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The mother of Ranger Aaron McCormick who was killed whlist serving in Afghanistan back in 2010 says she is delighted that she is able to see the bench in her son’s memory from her front door.

Maggie McCormick was speaking to The Times after a dedication service was held on Saturday at St Mary’s Parish Church in Macosquin for a special bench in Aaron’s memory.

Aaron was just 22 when he was killed clearing an area of improvised explosive devices in Helmand. The former Inst pupil was on his second tour of duty with the Royal Irish Regiment.

On Saturday, around 60 of Aaron’s friends and family turned out for the special service conducted by Rev Mike Roemmele. The Mayor of Coleraine, councillor David Harding and MLAs Gregory Campbell and George Robinson also attended, along with Sam Dickson who ran the Belfast Marathon for the family.

“It was a great turnout for Aaron,“ said Maggie.

The money for the bench was raised by Maggie and her son-in-law Sean who took part in a tandem sky dive.

The McCormick family also donated £1,000 to AA Vetrans, a charity set up by Belfast man, Andy Allen to help war veterans here in Northern Ireland.

“We were delighted that Andy came down,” told Maggie.

“He has become a great friend of ours.

“His charity is doing great work with veterans and their families, and all the money he raises stays here in Northern Ireland. We were really pleased that we had money left over to give to his charity.

“Another friend of Aaron’s Ian McKirgan from Belfast also made the trip.

“Ian and Aaron joined the army on the same day, and were on both tours of Afghan together.

“It is really special for us as a family that these friends of Aaron’s keep in touch with us,” said Maggie.

“This is one of the main reasons why we as a family wanted the bench. So many of Aaron’s friends come to visit him, so now they have somewhere to sit and reflect.”

Maggie thanked the Select Vestry of St Mary’s Church for their help, she said: “They were very helpful and gave us a prime location looking over the grave yard for the bench. It is really special for us as a family, and what makes it even more special is that I can see the bench from my house,” told Maggie. Maggie also thanked the staff of Mary Pat’s Bar in Macosquin who hosted the guests after the dedication service. We as a family just want to thank everyone who made the day so special.”