Belfast Telegraph

Cloughmills tragedy: Christmas appeal set up to help grieving family of tragic Adam Gilmour

By Chris Kilpatrick

A campaign to raise money in the run-up to Christmas for the grieving family of an eight-year-old boy killed on his way to school is under way.

Adam Gilmour, his mother and five siblings were struck by a car as they walked along a rural road in Co Antrim.

His family has been inundated with cards and letters of sympathy from across Northern Ireland following the tragedy.

And yesterday it was announced that a special fund is being set up to support the Gilmours in the coming months.

Ballymoney mayor Bill Kennedy said the campaign was intended to help the family as they approached their first Christmas without Adam.

"The Adam Gilmour Appeal Fund has been set up to help the family until they are back on their feet again," he said.

"People in Northern Ireland are always very good at giving aid to overseas disasters and those in need, but it's also important to help those on our own doorstep.

"Coming up to this time of year we felt something should be done to help the Gilmour family.

"For obvious reasons they don't want to go back to the house where they had been living and it's important to keep the family together.

"A lot of people were asking what they can do to help so we came up with the idea of an appeal fund."

Anybody wishing to donate to the cause can do so by contacting the mayor's office at Ballymoney Borough Council.

Adam's mother, Sarah, was badly hurt in the crash in Cloughmills last Tuesday.

She remains confined to a wheelchair and another son, Ryan (5), is still being treated at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

In her first interview since the tragedy, Mrs Gilmour said the accident could have been avoided if education chiefs had listened to her appeals for transport to school for her children.

She contacted the North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) asking for a bus service to be provided to keep them safe.

Ms Gilmour revealed nobody from the board had contacted her since to express condolences.

And she said she could face ever returning to her Cloughmills home as it would mean passing the scene of the crash.

"If they had listened to me my Adam would still be alive and I wouldn't be lying here like this," Ms Gilmour said. "I never got to say goodbye to him. Somebody has to answer for this. No-one should ever have to bury a child. I'll never get over this."

NEELB has said that it is reviewing transport provision.

Education Minister John O'Dowd asked his officials to seek a report on the accident from the education board.

The chairman of Stormont's education committee last week urged Mr O'Dowd to publish a review on bus provision.

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

Adam's funeral service was held on Sunday at Killymurris Church, where Rev Colin McDowell described him as "a boy whose short life was filled with family, with fun and friendship".

Details of how to donate to the fund are expected to appear on Ballymoney Borough Council’s website today

Background

Three weeks before a horrific smash that killed eight-year-old Adam Gilmour, his mother Sarah had urged the local education board to provide transport for her young children from their home to primary school. Ms Gilmour feared her children would be "wiped out" as they walked along the isolated rural road on the dark winter mornings. An investigation is under way into how the education board handled the family's request. Adam's death was the 69th on our roads so far this year - a figure which has since risen to 71. This is almost double the number of deaths during the same time period in 2012.

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