Belfast Telegraph

Scrambler bike death mum Valerie Armstrong's organs to be donated after Belfast tragedy

By Allan Preston and Angela Rainey

A devoted mother-of-three young children has died from devastating injuries she suffered after being struck by a scrambler motorbike at a west Belfast beauty spot.

Valerie Armstrong (35) passed away in hospital surrounded by her family late last night.

The PSNI said that a 17-year-old male youth is due to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court today charged in connection with the incident.

A 15-year-old boy who was also arrested following the crash has been released on police bail.

Mrs Armstrong had been walking her dog beside the lake in Colin Glen Forest Park when she was knocked down at around 6pm on Tuesday.

Fr Vincent Cushnahan from the Church of the Nativity in Poleglass said that, even in death, Mrs Armstrong had helped others.

"Valerie continues, despite her untimely and tragic death, to be generous to people who have never met her and they will have lifesaving treatment from her organs that will allow them to have a lease in life she lost," said the priest, who was with the family in the Royal Victoria Hospital just before Mrs Armstrong succumbed to her injuries.

"Even in desperate sadness there will be life and generosity.

"Valerie and her family are very happy for people to receive her organs."

Fr Cushnahan described the situation as "naturally a very devastating and tragic time".

"The incident itself initially came as a tremendous shock to the family," he added.

"Valerie was a young woman of 35 and a mum with three young children, and of course married to Seamus for 11 years.

"They had settled into life together and, naturally, like any young couple were looking forward to a long, happy and fulfilled life, and to watch their kids grow up to become successful and fulfilled people."

While coping with the tragedy, Fr Cushnahan said the family were "in a state of shock", but grateful for the support received from neighbours and medical staff.

He said that Mrs Armstrong came to church every Sunday with her children.

"She was a very joyful and committed presence in the church," he explained.

"We would have found her a very dedicated mother to her three children, and she and her husband Seamus worked very hard in their respective places of employment to make sure their children were well provided for.

"She seemed to be a generous, kind and loving person who was filled with life and the natural expectations of a young mum."

A fundraising page has been set up to help the family with any financial costs.

Believed to be originally from Rochfortbridge in Co Westmeath, Valerie had been living in Poleglass with Seamus and children Dylan (10), Lucy (7) and Sophie-Belle (5).

Her husband had been keeping a bedside vigil since the collision, while members of the community have been rallying round.

Mrs Armstrong had worked as a waitress in Cafe Vaudeville in the city centre.

Posting on their Facebook page they payed tribute on Wednesday.

It read: "It is with heavy hearts that all of us at Cafe Vaudeville have taken the news of our friend and colleague Valerie Armstrong's tragic death. The outpouring of shock, love & sympathy we have received from past & present staff, customers & well wishers is a testament to the wonderful person, wife and mother you were.

"From your Cafe Vaudeville Family, to Seamus and Family know that Valerie will forever be in our thoughts & prayers."

Residents in the area say there has long been an issue of anti-social behaviour associated with youths using scramblers and quad bikes dangerously in public spaces.

They have called for more to be done to safeguard the public from the scourge.

In the wake of the tragedy politicians have called for parents not to buy their children dirt or quad bikes, and for greater control to be exercised over their sale.

Belfast Telegraph


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