Hundreds mourn ‘character’ Adam who was killed on his way to school

Family and Friends at the funeral of 8 year old Adam Gilmour: 'Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Family and Friends at the funeral of 8 year old Adam Gilmour: 'Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

The funeral of the eight-year-old boy knocked down and killed on his way to school in Cloughmills last Tuesday has been described as “heart-rending” by a local councillor.

Adam Gilmour died after being struck by a car as he walked with his mother and five siblings to a school bus.

On Sunday afternoon, a large gathering of mourners at Killymurris Presbyterian Church in Glarryford heard the Clough Primary School pupil described as “a character”.

Councillor John Finlay said it was an emotional day for the entire community as well as Adam’s family.

“It was totally heart rending – a very, very sad occasion.

“When the cortege left the house there were a lot of Cloughmills people there to pay their respects and many of them had tears in their eyes.

“To have a mother being wheeled out in a wheelchair, it’s just unbelievable how much she has had to come through – not only losing a son, but also her own injuries she’s suffered,” he said.

One of Adam’s brothers is still in hospital following the incident.

Cllr Finlay, who sits on the Cloughmills Community Action Team, said the funeral service was “terribly sad” despite much focus on the joy Adam brought to all those who knew him.

“We were burying an eight-year-old boy who should have been full of life and running about but there he was in a coffin.

“All sides of the community were there to show their respects. You could never understand what Adam’s mother was going through – there she was herself not well in a wheelchair yet she was burying her son.

“It was absolutely heart-rending to tell you the truth,” the DUP representative added.

A private service was held earlier on Sunday at the home of Adam’s grandmother in Cloughmills, close to where the collision occurred.

Adam’s mother Sarah, who had been in hospital since the tragedy, was in a wheelchair as she led the mourners into the church.

Mourners heard the Rev Colin McDowell describe Adam as a character in his class – “the one who kept them all going at times”.

“He loved playing the drum kit. He loved his time at school,” the minister said.

“He was a big Chelsea supporter. Adam was really interested in farming, he had decided that is what he really wanted to do.”

Rev McDowell said the family particularly wanted to thank all the hospital staff in Antrim and Belfast who had done all that they could for them, as well as the ambulance staff involved, the BBC reported.

TUV leader Jim Allister last month wrote to the North Eastern Education Board (NEELB) on Sarah Hanna’s behalf, raising safety concerns about her having to walk the children along a country road without a footpath to get them to school.

Adam’s grandmother, Marlene Hanna, has blamed the NEELB for the tragedy.

She said: “I fully and totally, 101 per cent, blame the education board” – adding that: “My daughter has fought to get those children lifted at the gate.”

Adam has been described as “a happy wee man” who loved school and wanted to be a farmer.

His aunt, Michelle Johnston, told the News Letter: “Adam was a happy, playful wee child but now he is gone. He was so innocent and so playful and full of joy. It is unreal.”

An 18-year-old man was arrested over the crash and was later released on police bail.