The family of a six-year-old boy from north Belfast who passed away in a tragic accident in Spain has described him as “our forever baby, our true angel”.
Corey Aughey fell into the pool in Majorca on the first day of his family holiday last Thursday, and spent three days on life support in intensive care.
He died on Sunday evening due to health complications.
The young child was initially revived at the poolside by emergency responders, who performed CPR on him for around 30 minutes following the near-drowning incident, but he remained in a critical state in a Spanish hospital until his death.
A death notice said he was the “much loved son of Leanne and Colin, cherished brother of Jay, Darci and Joel and loving grandson of Suzanne, John and Kate."
It added poignantly: “Our forever baby, our true angel.”
An avid Rangers FC supporter, the family of “wee bear” Corey are now raising money to help fly him home, with funeral arrangements to be made at a later date.
One of the youngster’s family members posted to Facebook, writing: “We as a family want to let you know that king Corey has gained his wings.
"The family couldn't have got through it without all your support, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all your kind donations, now we have to concentrate on getting him home. Please keep praying for the family to get the strength to get through the next couple of weeks.”
So far, the fundraising page has gathered over £12,000. Those who wish to donate to the page can do so here.
Corey was also a scout with the 45th Belfast Scout Group, which meets in the Immanuel Church of Ireland in Ardoyne.
Also paying tribute on social media, the church’s page posted about the “heart-breaking news that Corey, a much loved member of the Beaver Section, passed away following a tragic accident”.
The statement continued: “Please keep the Aughey family in your thoughts and prayers during this very sad and difficult time.”
The 45th Belfast Scout Group wrote: “This is extremely sad news and the thoughts and prayers of everyone connected to the 45th are with his family at this heart breaking time.
“Corey will be fondly remembered by his Beaver Leaders as being fun loving, always smiling and full of enthusiasm. We will miss him so much.
“Beaver parents have already been informed. Pastoral support has kindly been offered by our District Commissioner so if you feel a leader or young person would like to avail of this, please let me know.”
Members of a local Orange lodge also paid their respects.
The Ballysillan LoL 1891 said: “The WM, Officers & Brethren are devastated to hear of the passing of young Corey Aughey, ( Wee bear ) son of Colin and Leanne, and grandson of John, we would like to extend our sincere sympathies to the entire Aughey family circle and friends at this sad time. The Lord is my Shepherd.”
A fortnight ago, another Belfast child died after a similar tragic drowning incident in Spain.
Freddie Joseph Briggs, just 19 months old, was pulled from the water at a private pool near Benidorm in late May.
The west Belfast toddler’s funeral took place last Thursday.
Despite the intervention of a neighbour and an air ambulance crew that attended the scene, the young boy passed away at the scene.
Donations to the ‘Remember Freddie Joseph Briggs’ fundraising page can be made here.