COLERAINE councillors observed a minute’s silence before last week’s Borough Council meeting as a mark of respect for Ranger Aaron McCormick.
The Mayor of Coleraine, Cllr Norman Hillis, led the tributes to the 22-year-old, who was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan on Remembrance Sunday.
“As Mayor of the Coleraine borough I would like express my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Ranger Aaron McCormick.
“Aaron sacrificed his life for our freedom and the borough has lost a courageous young man in the line of duty.
“News of Aaron’s sad passing began to emerge as we were paying tribute to the fallen on Remembrance Sunday. From now on Remembrance Sunday will carry extra significance for this borough and for Aaron’s friends and family.
“One comfort for them at this very sad time is that Aaron was such a well-loved and valued member of his regiment. He has been described as tough, selfless, good-humoured and full of compassion and he has left a huge void both in his ranks and his family.”
Alderman James McClure said Aaron had made the ‘supreme sacrifice’.
“Aaron has become the 344th British soldier to make the supreme sacrifice in Afghanistan and this is a tragedy beyond words,” said alderman McClure.
“I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to Aaron’s mother and father and his entire family circle.”
Cllr William King was a close neighbour of the McCormick family in Macosquin and said Aaron’s death had left ‘a great shadow over the village’.
“I have known Aaron and his family for many years and my thoughts and prayers are with them at this time,” said Cllr King.
“He was a very clever lad and he chose a career so as he could help others. He was a popular man in Macosquin and his passing has left a great shadow over the village.”
Alderman Maura Hickey, Cllr Barney Fitzpatrick, Cllr David Barbour, Cllr Sandy Gilkinson, Cllr Robert McPherson and the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Sam Cole all went on record to pay respect to Aaron before the chamber rose to observe a minute’s silence.