Tragic teacher ‘one of a kind’

Craig Church.
Craig Church.

A Northern Ireland teacher who was found dead following an incident in China “would have gone out of his way to help anyone”, it has been claimed.

Craig Church, from Portstewart in Co Londonderry, is understood to have died after falling down a number of flights of stairs.

The 27-year-old, a former pupil of Dominican College and student at Ulster University, had been working as an English language teacher at a school in China.

His father Ian is a well-known former footballer in Portstewart, having been involved with Portstewart FC for many years as a player and committee member.

He is also involved with the North Coast Northern Ireland Supporters Club.

Dozens of online tributes have been pouring in following news of Craig’s tragic death, including Portstewart FC, stating: “The committee would like to offer their condolences to our past player and true friend Ian Church and the entire Church family on the tragic passing of Craig. Our thoughts are with you.”

His sister Carrie posted a picture of her brother on Facebook hours after his death.

One friend wrote: “I am so sorry for your lose Carrie and Ian thoughts are with you and the rest of the family. Craig was one of a kind.”

DUP councillor Mark Fielding, who lives close to Craig’s mother in Portstewart, said the town had been left reeling from the tragedy.

“This has come as a massive shock to everyone. To lose a son like that is a big blow and the fact that it happened so far away from home makes it all the more difficult to bear.

“Craig came from a well-known and well-liked family and he was a popular guy.

“He is around the same age as my son, and from what I am told Craig would have went out of his way to help anyone.”

TUV Alderman Sharon McKillop said she was “deeply saddened” to hear of Craig’s untimely death.

“The family are confronted by unimaginable tragedy. I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy to them at this time,” she added.