Heartbroken mum Clare Kelly's moving tribute to 'beautiful' Joshua who died after being hit by car in Newtownards
A grieving mother has paid a heartbreaking tribute to her six-year-old boy who died after being hit by a car close to their home.
Joshua Kelly, a pupil at St Finian's primary school in Newtownards, was just metres from his family home on the Scrabo Road when the incident happened on Wednesday afternoon around 3pm.
Yesterday his mother Clare Kelly posted a picture on Facebook of herself and Joshua. Just one day after the tragedy she said: "Yesterday my beautiful boy grew his wings. And I thank God for the 6 brilliant years I had him. RIP my wee bird."
It's believed Ms Kelly also has a daughter of around four years old and has returned home to be with her family in Portaferry.
Outside their home, flowers with messages of support were laid at either side of the scene of the accident. Friends continued to arrive yesterday afternoon with flowers while police spoke to residents.
Next-door neighbours Coral Forsythe and Patsy Major, who are friendly with the family, had been at home when the tragedy unfolded.
"I was actually standing out the front," said Coral. "I heard the bang but I didn't actually see what happened. It was just a thud and the screaming. Then I saw him lying on the ground, I ran over to the child. I didn't see who it was at the time. We tried to resuscitate him and phoned an ambulance."
Patsy added: "It all happened very quickly, what brought my attention to it was the mummy screaming, screaming at the top of her voice. It was all over then in a split second and the ambulance was there in no time."
Both women passed on their condolences to the family.
Coral added that she has two young children of a similar age to the Kelly family who would often play together.
"It's a big shock to everyone," she added. "I can't even imagine what she's going through at the minute, it will be very hard for her to come to terms with."
Joshua's principal at St Finian's described him as a "beautiful, kind little boy" whose "smile could light up any room".
Barry Coulter added that he was a "much-loved pupil" who would be "sadly missed by the whole school community".
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Joshua's entire family circle and the St Finian's school community sends them our sincerest sympathy and support," he said.
Parish priest Fr Martin O'Hagan also paid his respects to the young boy.
He told the Belfast Telegraph: "He was a bright, spirited son and grandson and pupil of St Finian's.
"It would be our wish to express our deep, deep sympathy to Joshua's family at this very difficult time and that we are there to support them in any way we can.
"It is absolutely heartbreaking so we have to look out for all those who are caught up in the tragic event, family and wider community, and the classmates we have to keep a little eye on them and in the years to come. It's a very tough time."
The Scrabo Residents' Association have campaigned for years for improved road safety in the area. Even this week before the accident they posted concerns online about busy traffic on the Scrabo Road which passes the Model Primary School.
In a statement yesterday, they said: "The members of Scrabo Residents' Association would like to offer their condolences to the family of the young child who sadly died after a tragic accident. We are all parents and grandparents and can imagine the pain that the parents must be feeling at this time."
They continued: "We are concerned about the roundabout and traffic lights on Circular Road, with delivery vans, lorries and the high volume of traffic, and (the) parking issue at the front of the school."
The group said they would continue to lobby local representatives on the matter but also understood that "feelings will be running high after this sad and tragic incident".
SDLP councillor for the area, Joe Boyle, said he agreed that traffic moved too quickly in the residential area.
"It's a terribly sad occasion, a six-year-old child," he said.
"I know the area well. I drove past it half-an-hour after the event coming home."
He said the Scrabo Road had become a busy route for traffic heading out of Newtownards past the Model Primary School to get to the main A20 road.
"If people are saying that it is quite dangerous, certainly they would have my support," he said. "I understand exactly what they mean.
"I'm only aware of one fatality but one is too many. That may be something that Transport NI may have to look at."