Belfast Telegraph

Child who choked on food at Belfast church event is laid to rest

By Mark Edwards

A young child has died after choking on a piece of food at the reopening of a Belfast church damaged in two arson attacks.

The Belfast Telegraph understands the young boy, whose name was Imoh Uka, choked on a piece of food at the reopening ceremony of Saintfield Road Presbyterian Church in south Belfast last month.

A spokesperson for the church said Imoh, understood to be aged around three and the son of a Nigerian couple, became unwell during the church's reopening weekend in the middle of May.

He was treated at the scene and taken to hospital, where he passed away on June 7.

A funeral service was held at the church yesterday.

Rev Alistair Bill, minister of Saintfield Road Presbyterian Church, said: "This morning we held a Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving for the life of little Imoh here at Saintfield Road.

"Once again, as a church family, we want to express our deepest sympathy to his family as we continue to support them in the coming weeks and months by the grace of God."

It is understood members of the congregation who were trained in first aid gave the young boy medical assistance at the church before he was taken to hospital. He remained in intensive care until he died.

South Belfast MLA Claire Hanna, who had attended the fun day where little Imoh choked, said: "This is just utterly heartbreaking. I attended the same fun day with my kids and what happened to that family is just every parents' nightmare.

"Thinking and praying for this little boy's family and for the community of Saintfield Road Presbyterian who will be deeply upset at this tragedy happening at what was a joyful and forward-looking weekend of celebration of the reopening of their church."

The building had only just reopened when the tragedy struck.

The church had suffered extensive damage in two arson attacks within the space of two days in July 2016.

The congregation was forced to worship elsewhere for the next 22 months while the building was completely refurbished.

The church supports a congregation of around 700 people and has been serving the community since 1960.

Belfast Telegraph

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