Belfast Telegraph

Cloughmills tragedy: 'They did not even say sorry for death of Adam', says grief-stricken mother

By Chris Kilpatrick

The grieving mother of an eight-year-old boy killed on his way to school says he would still be alive if education chiefs had listened to her.

Adam Gilmour, his mother and his five siblings were struck by a car as they walked along a rural road near Ballymena in Co Antrim. Three weeks before the horrific smash, Adam's mother Sarah had begged the North Eastern Education and Library Board to provide transport for her young children from their home to primary school.

In her first interview since the tragedy, Sarah Gilmour told the Belfast Telegraph she blamed the board for her son's death.

Ms Gilmour revealed nobody from the education board has contacted her since Adam's death to express condolences or sympathy.

The devastated mother said she cannot face ever returning to her Cloughmills home as it would mean passing the scene of the fatal crash.

The 33-year-old sustained fractures to her neck and spine and is currently unable to walk.

She is being cared for by her family after being released from hospital.

"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."

Adam was killed in the crash at the Loughill Road in Cloughmills last Tuesday morning.

He had been walking with his mother and young siblings on the way to get a bus at the end of their road to Clough Primary School.

It was a journey they took every morning as the family had no car and, as the mornings became darker, it was a trip that increasingly worried the devoted mum.

Three weeks earlier, Ms Gilmour urged the board to arrange for a bus, fearing that her children would be "wiped out" as they walked along the isolated rural road on the dark winter mornings.

Ms Gilmour revealed her children had come close to being struck on the treacherous country road in the past.

"They said they could get some of the kids home at 3pm but that was it," she said.

"I told them to try and walk six children on that road, including one in a buggy.

"I said on the phone something would happen.

"We knew it would happen. It was ridiculous. I blame them 100%.

"It wouldn't have killed them to send transport to my yard.

"If they had have done, Adam would be alive.

"We wouldn't have been on that road."

The tragic child's funeral took place on Sunday.

Hundreds of friends, family and neighbours gathered at Killymurris Presbyterian Church in Glarryford.

A private service was held at his grandmother's house in Cloughmills before the cortege - led by Sarah - travelled to the church.

The service had been planned for Friday but was delayed to allow his mother to recover enough - both physically and mentally, - to attend.

Adam's younger brother Ryan (5) remains in hospital with serious leg injuries.

The other children were also knocked down but miraculously none was seriously injured, although all were badly affected by the crash and the loss of Adam.

At his funeral one of his sisters described the youngster, who loved tractors and farming, as her "best friend".

Reverend Colin McDowell said Adam was a character.

"He loved playing the drum kit. He loved his time at school."

NEELB has said that it is reviewing transport provision.

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

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

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

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