Belfast Telegraph

Adam Gilmour funeral: Anguish and shock was still etched on the faces of his family

By Victoria O'Hara

It seemed almost impossible that the sun could shine on such a heartbreaking scene as the one that unfolded in Cloughmills yesterday. But shine it did, glinting off the wheelchair that carried seriously injured Sarah Gilmour to the funeral of her eight-year-old son Adam, its light bouncing off the heads of the children who had come to say a last farewell to their lost playmate.

But this was winter sun, its warmth deceptive and fleeting. What was sustaining and bringing some comfort to the devastated Gilmour family was the love and support of their family and friends yesterday. Five days after the horrific fatal crash the mother, siblings and loved ones of Adam Gilmour said their final goodbyes. Just after 2pm the small, white coffin adorned with flowers was placed into the hearse after a private ceremony held in his grandmother's home.

And in a poignant gesture, his mother Sarah, still in a neck brace, was embraced by the rest of her children ahead of the four-mile journey to the church.

All funerals are sad of course, but it feels against the natural order of things when it is a child being buried. Arriving at the church, the family, including Adam's siblings, some carrying red roses, slowly made their way inside. The anguish and shock of the horrific events that engulfed them last Tuesday morning were still etched on their faces.

As mum Sarah was wheeled through the doors, a female relative kept a tight hold of her hand. During the service mourners heard Adam's sister Chloe read out a tribute to her brother written by his P5 classmates in Clough Primary School. She bravely stood at the front of the church and in a few short sentences painted a vivid picture and enduring picture of the much-loved and popular little boy. Speaking slowly she said: "Adam's favourite colour was red. Adam was a Chelsea supporter. Adam wanted to be a farmer. Adam was my best friend. We thank Adam's mum for bringing him into the world."

After taking her seat, Rev Colin McDowell thanked her, praising her for her strength in being able to speak at her brother's funeral. As he continued, it was all too much for his mum who, overcome with grief, wiped away tears and listened as her son was described by those who knew him.

His love for football, playing the drums and his hopes of growing up to work the land were all spoken about.

Conditions at the time of the crash were said to be treacherous, with no footpaths or lighting on the route where the car struck the family. His voice faltering with emotion, Rev McDowell said they wanted to thank the Ambulance Service crew who arrived at "a horrendous scene".

"They did everything they could for the family and it is unfortunate even though they desperately tried to do everything they could for Adam - Adam was killed instantly.

"And as we mourn Adam today the sorrow that every one of us feel is that natural response to everything that has happened. We know bad things happen, everyone of us. They are without explanation."

Among the mourners leaving the church was TUV leader and Assembly member Jim Allister who was contacted by Adam's mother just weeks before the accident concerned about the lack of a school bus and the dangers that presented to her family.

He said Adam's death must be a catalyst for a change.

"There are questions they have to answer. But I think they also have to look at future provision because we can't have more families put in this situation," he said.

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