Belfast Telegraph

I still expect my wee Harry to come bouncing round the corner, says grieving dad

BY JOANNE SWEENEY

THE family of a little boy who died after collapsing on his grandfather's farm are still bewildered about the cause of his passing.

Harry's dad Mark has spoken movingly of the devastating loss his family suffered when the six-year-old died suddenly last week.

The little boy was found motionless in the milking parlour of his grandfather's farm on the Ballynahonemore Road, outside Armagh city.

He was taken to hospital but later died.

The schoolboy is believed to have died of natural causes following a post mortem, possibly due to an undiagnosed heart condition.

But Mr Starrett said his family are still "none the wiser" as to what happened. The grieving father described the youngster as a "fit and healthy wee boy".

"I'm just waiting on my wee boy to come bouncing round the corner to say 'Where are we going today Daddy?'," he said.

"He was full of beans. Anybody he came into contact with, he charmed them. He was just that type of wee boy."

Mr Starrett said his son loved the farming life.

"He just loved to be on the family dairy farm. In his six years he never once didn't want to come down on the farm. It was where he was at his happiest," he added.

Harry was the eldest child of Mr Starrett and his wife Alison, who are also parents to Ben (5), Rachel (3) and Phoebe (2).

Speaking to the Ulster Gazette newspaper, Mr Starrett paid tribute to the community for the love and support shown to his family following Harry's shock death.

"We have had family, friends, members of the clergy and neighbours call with us, it has been fantastic. We want to thank each and every one. Their support has meant a lot to us."

Mr Starrett talked lovingly of his lively son, who "just loved the outside life".

"He was a real wee talker and always ready for a bit of craic. But beyond that he was a caring wee boy who always looked out for his brother and sisters."

Northern Ireland's farming community was plunged into further mourning this week when 10-year-old Aaron Macaulay was killed in an accident on his family farm near Castlewellan.

He was in the cab of a loading vehicle with his brother Matthew when it stalled and crashed down a hill.

His funeral is to be held today.

The Starrett family minister, Rev Canon John McKegney of the Church of Ireland, said he had sent a message of support to the Macaulay family minister, Rev Michael Davidson.

"The death of another child so soon after Harry will be keenly felt by the Starretts and the rest of this community who are still grieving as we know what they are going through," he said.

Rev McKegney, who baptised Harry, described the little boy as a "joiner who took every opportunity offered to have fun".

"He had just joined our junior choir.

"His funeral, or that of any child, is one that I hoped never to have to take."

Due to start school again at Lisnadill Primary School, Armagh, next month, Harry was a popular and enthusiastic member of the local Redrock Boys Brigade.

The brigade's captain, Hans Johnston, wrote a commemorative poem for Harry, who lived with his family at the Ballynahonemore Road farm.

STORY SO FAR

Northern Ireland's farming community has been struck by the deaths of two young children in recent weeks. The accidental death of Co Down boy Aaron Macaulay (10) so soon after Harry's will be felt by the close-knit rural communities where both boys lived. Church of Ireland minister the Rev Canon John McKegney sent a personal email to the Macaulay's family minister, Rev Michael Davidson, to show his support in the wake of the tragedy.

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