Belfast Telegraph

Celtic superfan Jay Beatty jumping for joy on first day at new school

By David Young

Celtic super-fan Jay Beatty was jumping for joy yesterday as he headed to St Ronan's College in Lurgan for his first day at 'big school'.

And according to mum Aine, the big-hearted Down's syndrome lad loved every minute of it.

Little Jay (12), first came to public attention in 2015 when he won the Scottish Professional Football League's 'Goal of the Month' accolade after Celtic invited him on to the pitch at half-time to take a penalty against rivals Hamilton.

The Celtic fans loved him, and since then the inspiring Lurgan lad has rarely been out of the headlines.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, proud mum Aine said: "Jay got on just great - and he's really looking forward to going back tomorrow.

"I'm so proud of him. Everything he does amazes me.

"He's such a good communicator.

"He's the one that does it all - things like winning over the crowd at Celtic Park, just through his infectious personality."

Aine disclosed that teachers at St Ronan's had all had special training on how to work with Down's syndrome children in preparation for Jay starting school.

Principal Mrs Michele Corkey said: "St Ronan's College are delighted to welcome Jay and all our Year Eight pupils to the school community today.

"At St Ronan's, Jay will be studying the same subjects in the same classes as everyone else - exactly what his mum wanted."

Aine revealed she'd fretted about whether Jay would be able to cope in a mainstream school.

However, the educational psychologists advising her reckoned that he would cope very well in a mixed ability setting.

"They said other children will learn as much from Jay as he does from them - because he's quite a character!" the Lurgan mum laughed.

"The most important thing for me was that Jay was with his own community, his own friends.

"I am so happy about that, for at one time the board felt Jay should go to a Banbridge special unit.

"But we knew he'd be happier in a setting where everybody knows him."

She added that Jay would be continuing as an ambassador for Celtic FC, who she keeps up to date with his progress.

Asked about his new school, Jay said: "I am very confident I'm going to the right place."

Belfast Telegraph


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