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Family's plea to thieves of last gift from Phelim Brewster to little son

By Allan Preston

Published 30/11/2016

Phelim Brewster with Una and, from left, James (now nine) and siblings Clara and Michael
Phelim Brewster with Una and, from left, James (now nine) and siblings Clara and Michael
James’ stolen bike

A mother has said her nine-year-old son has been left heartbroken after a bike given to him by his late father was stolen.

Phelim Brewster, a father of three and a well-known GAA player in Co Antrim, died suddenly, aged 43, at his home on November 29 last year.

The silver spray-painted bike was the last present he gave his eldest son, James.

On Monday, almost one year after his death, the bike was taken from the family home in the Pinebank area of Craigavon. Phelim's widow, Una Brewster, has pleaded for the bike - which has only sentimental value _ to be returned to her eldest child.

"I'm just determined to give an opportunity for that person to bring the bike back," she said.

"It was very upsetting for James because he likes to cycle to school, he went out on the Monday morning and he discovered that it had gone.

"He went into a panic and went to look round the back. So he came in very upset and I found it hard to console him.

"It was the first time he had actually cried over the last few days, with the whole build-up to the anniversary," she added. As she drove James to school, she told him not to give up hope that he will get the bike back.

"I said, 'we'll get this sorted, we'll get it back. I'll do a campaign on Facebook and put out an appeal'. So he lit up at that - I thought I'll just try and speak to the person that did it."

Within a day of posting on social media, more than a thousand people shared Mrs Brewster's appeal, with many offering to buy a new bike for James.

"It was unbelievable the response from everybody," she said.

"But I want to tell them it was never about that - it's the sentimental value. It means more to him to get that bike back.

"It was a second-hand bike Phelim had got at an auction. He spray-painted it silver to make it look new - it wouldn't be worth anything. We're just devastated that it was taken."

Information can be passed to newseditor@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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