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Family of teenager Jay Moffett ‘heartbroken’ following Scarva lake tragedy

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Jay Moffett Credit: Family photo issued by PSNI

Jay Moffett Credit: Family photo issued by PSNI

Jay Moffett

Jay Moffett

Floral tributes left at the scene. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Floral tributes left at the scene. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

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Jay Moffett Credit: Family photo issued by PSNI

The family of Jay Moffett, the 13-year-old who died in a swimming accident in Scarva say they have been left “heartbroken” following the tragedy.

He died after getting into difficulty in the water in the Canal Court area on Monday afternoon.

His father and another man desperately tried to save the boy as emergency services rushed to the scene.

The teenager’s family issued a statement on Tuesday, describing him as a “much loved son, brother, grandson, nephew and cousin”.

They added that the loss of their “beautiful” son has left them “heartbroken” and said the boy “lit up the lives of everyone who knew him”.

"We are grateful for the support we have received at this terrible time and would ask that we now be given the space to grieve in private,” the family added.

Despite the rapid response from the emergency services on the scene, which also included the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and the Air Ambulance, the teenager later passed away at Craigavon Hospital.

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Reverend Rodney Magennis, of Loughbrickland, Donaghmore and Scarva Church of Ireland said the village had been “deeply saddened” by the tragedy.

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Floral tributes left at the scene. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Floral tributes left at the scene. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Floral tributes left at the scene. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

He has opened St Matthew’s in the village as a space for people to reflect.

"We offer to his family and friends our prayerful love and support in the days that are to come,” he said.

"It is a tragic event to happen in such a beautiful village and everyone is feeling the shock of it all, so to this end I am opening St Matthew's Parish Church of Ireland today (Tuesday) from 3pm until 6pm for anyone who would like somewhere to go, to sit in the quietness and pray for this family who are going through this dreadful time.

"Please do come for even just a few minutes as we remember before God this family as they deal with what has happened.

"’Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.’ Matthew 5:4.”

The community has been left devastated.

A Year 9 pupil at Tandragee Junior High School, the school said it was “truly heartbroken” by his death and sent their thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

In a statement on behalf of the board of governors, staff and pupils, the school said Jay’s death was “particularly poignant”.

“He has always been a popular, helpful and very pleasant pupil and will be deeply missed by pupils and staff,” the school added.

“Jay was a particularly talented artist, a valued and loyal member of his form class, 9EG, and an exemplary citizen of our school.

“Jay’s potential was boundless, he enjoyed school and would have no doubt achieved further success upon completion of study at Key Stage 3.”

In a Facebook post Tullylish Amateur Boxing Club offered its condolences to the boy’s family.

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Jay Moffett

Jay Moffett

Jay Moffett

“Tullylish ABC are deeply saddened following the tragic and untimely passing of our much loved club member Jay Moffett,” the club said.

"All of us at the club pass on our sincerest condolences to Wayne, Caroline, Ollie and Daisy. Rest easy Jay, we will all miss that big smile.”

Hundreds of people have passed on their sympathies across social media sites.

"So sorry to hear this awful news about Jay he was a great wee boy,” said Bernard McComiskey.

"From everyone at Gilford ABC our thoughts and prayers go out to you all. Family and friends in this sad time.”

Tom Keeley added: “A lovely lad – quiet unassuming and good fun – will be missed. RIP – thoughts with the family.”

Emma Greer added: “A beautiful boy from the inside out, anyone who knew Jay would know he always had a smile on his face to anyone he met.”

Fire Service Commander Gary Magwood described the scene as “traumatic” for those who responded.

Floral tributes have been placed at the scene and public representatives from across the political spectrum paid their respects.

DUP MP Carla Lockhart was among many public representatives who spoke of their shock and passed on her sympathies to the family.

“Please remember the family in your prayers as they come to terms with this harrowing tragedy. To the emergency services and anyone else who assisted, thank you.”


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