Belfast Telegraph

Breda Academy pupils' touching tribute to Belfast teen Adam McCormack

By Ali Gordon

Friends of a teenager who died suddenly have paid him a poignant tribute by completing his woodwork coursework.

Popular Adam McCormack was only 15 when he passed away in his sleep last month.

Classmates at Breda Academy in Belfast, who were devastated by his loss, decided to make sure that he finished his work.

Close pal Ethan Sloan said: “Adam was working away on his coursework but he was finding it a bit difficult so on the Thursday, I helped him with it and he passed away that night.”

Adam Gribben added: “I think doing something practical helped us because it just came as such a shock.

“Last Friday, when Mr Munro told us Adam had died, none of us could believe it.


“I just looked around and all these guys were crying their eyes out.”

Adam was a diabetic, but as yet no cause of death has been established.

Four of  his joinery classmates — Ethan Sloan, Adam Gribben, Thomas Moore and Craig Johnston — have worked tirelessly to complete his coursework.

They will present the finished product, a table, to his parents at school today.

“We worked really, really hard because we wanted it to be good, so it took us a week to get it finished and hopefully his family will like it,” said Ethan.

“The school is thinking about getting a special plaque for the bench we always sat on at break and lunch outside the outdoor gym too and we’re all going to keep doing as much as we can.”

Thomas added: “The school has been really good at giving us time off to come to terms with it and complete the table.”

Breda Academy gave Year 11 pupils time out of class last week to speak to counsellors and spend time together, remembering Adam.

In the school’s reception, a memory tree has been erected where pupils have been posting their respects to Adam, and the school is already onto its second book of condolences.

Adam’s friends told Sunday Life that it was a fitting tribute to a “true legend”.

“He was so funny and we all had such a laugh,” said Adam.

“On Thursday, the last words he said to me were, ‘I just can’t wait for tomorrow’ and that was him — excited for the weekend.”

Ethan added: “He told us that when he turned 18 he was going to take over Belvoir Bowling Club and turn it into a nightclub for us all.

“That was his dream. He was amazing — he just brightened up everyone’s day.”

Headteacher Matthew Munro said: “It’s been a really upsetting week for the children and the staff, but it’s been touching to see how they’ve supported each other.

“The funeral was very well attended and it was lovely to see the support and respect the school family wanted to show Adam and his family.

“I have sent out a message to the pupils telling them how proud I am of the way they have behaved and I feel very privileged to be able to call myself their principal.

“They have thrown themselves into things, from the woodwork to the memory tree and we have already raised over £500 for Diabetes UK and will be raising more over the year.

“You’ve got to allow people a chance to feel and express their feelings and we are trying to help as much as we can.

“I told the pupils that there is no right or wrong way to grieve and Adam certainly will not be forgotten at Breda Academy.”

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