Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Viewpoint: A week of heartbreak

For too many families across Northern Ireland, this has been a week of tears for the young.

At least three young people have died in horrific circumstances, and another is critically ill in hospital.

By all accounts, each and every one of them were, or are, remarkable people; a tribute to their generation.

Like Adele Whiteside, the 14-year-old schoolgirl killed in a road accident in Finaghy at the weekend. Hundreds turned out last night to mourn her, and recall a short but exemplary life.

Like graduate Aaron Toland, who perished in the terrible plane crash in Thailand. Heartbreaking pictures and messages from friends on the internet and from his family circle testify to the fulfilling life that should yet be unfolding ahead of him.

Like Aaron's friend, Christopher Cooley, who is also so highly thought of and who remains critically ill in hospital with his parents at his bedside.

And like Chloe McClelland from Co Antrim, who died in a road accident aged just eight years old, full of life and loved by everyone around her.

Their families are bereft in a sea of grief, but, hopefully, the support of relatives and the strong sense of community that is still such a feature of life here will go some way towards easing their burden.

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