Belfast Telegraph

Mourners bid farewell to brave little boy Aaron Macaulay, who died in tragic Co Down farming accident

Mourners at the funeral of 10-year-old Aaron Macaulay have heard how the brave little boy had received skin grafts for an earlier life-threatening mishap.

Aaron was killed on Tuesday in a tragic accident on his family's Co Down farm.

He was in the cab of a loading vehicle which was transporting slurry when it apparently stalled near the top of a steep hill, known as Ballymacarney.

The boy's grand-uncle said the digger-type vehicle then hurtled backwards between 300 and 400 yards, before crashing to a halt further down the steep incline.

On Friday the devastated family held Aaron's funeral at Drumgooland Presbyterian Church near Banbridge.

Mourners were told he had already suffered a serious accident aged two, leaving him with scars and a damaged arm which needed surgery and skin grafts at regular intervals.

Reverend Michael Davidson said: "He showed his strength and bravery every day. He never complained about his arm although he was probably more troubled by it than anybody knew and he would often get tired in the afternoon at school.

"On each occasion he was faced with further surgery he dealt with it with great calmness and bravery."

Thanks to the efforts of the staff in the Children's Hospital in Belfast, Aaron's life was saved after the first accident.

The minister added: "The fact that Aaron was so full of life and so full of fun was all the more special because of what he had come through."

He said: "Aaron's life was shaped by that accident. I think because of it he became even more precious to his family and to all of us."

Health and safety inspectors are investigating his death in Ballyward, close to Castlewellan.

Aaron came from a well-respected family active within the local church and members of the community have been left distressed by the tragedy. He had two older sisters, Helen and Hazel, and two older brothers, Matthew and Jack.

His parents, Maurice and Wendy Macaulay, are well-known locally as farmers and members of the church.

Rev Davidson said the child had a huge personality.

"Aaron grew into a boy who was full of life and full of fun, who lived life to the full. Aaron was a people's person, such a sociable boy, he loved to be in company, he loved to be in the middle of things, always wanting to be involved, always wanting to contribute," he said.

Outside school at Drumadonnell Primary, where he was about to go into P7, his interests included the Scouts, Sunday school, the church and the Child Evangelism Fellowship.

Mr Davidson added: "Aaron was one who seized every day, every opportunity, and sought to enjoy it to the full."

He said the boy was caring, once stopping during a race to help a friend who had fallen. He loved listening to music, including Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. He did Jackson's moon walk for Drumadonnell's Got Talent and loved to sing, inside church but also outside where his favourites included Bob the Builder.

The minister said Aaron was straight-talker and said what was on his mind, once asking his sister's boyfriend when he was going to marry her.

The community has rallied around the family, 40 people helping in the yard and house the night of the accident. During the service a tribute from a friend was read.

An earlier private service at the Macaulay's home at Rathfriland Road, Ballyward, was held. Following the church service, a burial took place in the graveyard adjoining Drumgooland Presbyterian.

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