Mum who lost two sons within decade tells of ‘hell on Earth’ as she prepares for anniversary ride-out
A mother who lost both of her sons 10 years apart has told of how her family will mark the one-year anniversary of her younger boy's death by travelling to the spot where the motorbike fanatic died.
Diane Adams from Co Down was left heartbroken last July 31 when her son Jay 'Rossi' Reardon (21), was killed in a single motorcycle crash on the Belfast Road near Newtownards - a decade after her teenage son died.
The mother from Holywood Hills near Bangor called this last year "hell on earth" as the family struggled to come to terms with the death of her "wee pet".
Now Jay's family and friends will gather to trace his final moments doing what he loved most in a bid to raise funds for the Injured Riders Welfare Fund.
The Cruise for Jay event is expected to attract hundreds of bikers for the 47-mile round trip, which will end at the spot where the popular man lost his life.
His death happened 10 years after his brother David Heaslip (18) died of an aneurysm.
Diane, who is mother to Laura (20), Anna (12) and Susi (11), said: "Jay's first anniversary will be very hard for us.
"We have been there with David and you forget how you get through it, and now it's happening all over again.
"Losing Jay has meant the lights have gone out of our family. It's been very hard.
"We want to do this in his memory and it's a lovely way to remember him.
"Jay was the light of our lives, I'm a single parent and we had already lost David all those years ago and Jay was the only man in the family.
"The last year has been hell on earth. Jay and Laura were extremely close and she has lost her best friend, while the two younger girls both looked up to him and he shared a close relationship with Anna because they both supported Arsenal.
"It's left a big, empty hole and the pain is unbelievable.
"There are days when you think 'will I ever get through this?' But you do, you have to. I have three girls and I have to keep going for them."
She described Jay as a "great people person" who achieved so much in his short life.
The young man was a qualified welder and had been working as a lecturer in engineering at the Bangor campus of the South Eastern College.
Diane added: "He loved teaching and tried to inspire younger people through his work.
"He had his dream job and was in such a good place in his life. I take some comfort from the fact that he was in a good place and was happy when he died."
Soon after the tragic accident, Jay's idol, world motorcycle champion Valentino Rossi, sent the family a signed T-shirt in his memory.
Despite a thorough PSNI investigation, the cause of the accident was not established and the family will never know what happened on the day he died.
"Jay had taken a run out on his own that day. Laura planned on going to Bulgaria for a few weeks and that Sunday we were having a family dinner and he was to join us after that, but he never arrived," she added.
"We went through the police findings and it was really horrific, but it was something we felt we had to do."
Motorcycle racing is a big part of their family and Diane has vowed that will not change.
"I still like motorbikes, even after I lost my wee pet to it. He wouldn't have wanted us to lose interest in it," she added.
"We are very proud of Jay and all that he achieved in his 21 years and we know that no son could be loved as much we loved him."
The cruise will take place on Sunday, July 23. The group will meet at 12pm at the Pit Stop, Rathgael Road, Bangor.
Costs are £5 per car and £3 per bike, with all funds going to the Injured Riders Welfare Fund.