Funeral for tragic asthma boy
The funeral of a 13-year-old schoolboy who died suddenly after participating in his school sports day was taking place today.
Ryan Lyttle collapsed at his home in Glengormley after going up to his bedroom to change out of his sports clothes.
He never regained consciousness and it is believed he suffered a fatal asthma attack.
The year nine pupil at St Patrick's College, Bearnageeha on the Antrim Road in north Belfast was a huge fan of the ice hockey team the Belfast Giants and played a number of sports including ice hockey, in-line hockey and hurling. As his parents, Sharon and Neil, prepared to say their final farewells today, tributes poured in for the teenager, who was described as a "gentle giant" by those who knew him.
Fr Dan Whyte, of St Bernard's chapel, who was celebrating Requiem Mass today, said Ryan was a "sports crazy likeable lad" who was mature for his years.
"The whole parish is in terrible shock about Ryan's death and as you can imagine his family is very distressed," he said.
"It seems Ryan died from a pre-existing medical condition but I think people are so shocked because they did not realise that asthma can be fatal in certain instances. Ryan was sports crazy, with ice hockey at the top of his list. He was a very likeable lad and was mature for his age, quite a reflective lad who wasn't as impulsive as his peers. Everyone liked him.
"His death has had a huge impact on the local parish but the family have received a lot of support from the community."
Ryan's heartbroken father, Neil, said: "He didn't even have full asthma. He had asthmatic tendencies but unfortunately it came back to haunt him."