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School pals mourn tragic Jamie

By Emily Moulton

County Down teenager Jamie Moreland was just weeks away from his 16th birthday before he tragically lost his life.

It is understood that the Newtownards boy was due to celebrate the milestone with his family and friends next month.

Jamie, who was a Year 12 pupil at Movilla High School, had left his mother’s home on Saturday to watch a band parade and is believed to have attended a party afterwards.

After he failed to return home the next day his family became concerned and were due to make an appeal to the public for help when their worst fears came true. The teenager’s body was found in the Connswater River on Tuesday.

A PSNI spokeswoman said a post-mortem examination found he had drowned.

Yesterday a special assembly was held at Movilla High School to inform pupils of the loss of one of their friends.

Jamie’s younger sister Emma is a Year 9 pupil at the school.

Acting principal Ian Bell said the school staff and pupils were deeply saddened by Jamie’s death and wanted to extend their sympathy to the Moreland family.

“The entire school community are devastated at his loss and at this particular time I would wish to extend our deepest sympathy to his mum, his sister Emma, who is a Year 9 pupil at the school, and the extended family circle,” he said.

“Jamie was a popular pupil with his peers and had formed good working relationships with staff. It is particularly tragic that Jamie has recently come to the end of his school career at Movilla and was on study leave pending his GCSE examinations in a full range of subjects.

“We hope the school will be given the privacy needed to support our pupils at this difficult time and we are currently being supported by the SEELB’s Critical Incident Support Service.”

Local DUP MLA Jim Shannon, who is friends with the family, said the entire community had been left devastated by his death.

“A terrible sadness has descended upon Newtownards, and it always will whenever a young life is lost,” he said.

“This is a young boy taken away at a very young age, a young boy whose mum and grandparents had such high hopes for. Unfortunately those opportunities have been snatched away.

“I know his mother and grandparents through my role in the community. His family are very well-known in the Ards area. Young Jamie was nearing on 16, he was born within a few days of my own son.

“People have been gathering round the Moreland family to offer support and give comfort and to add their prayers, and my thoughts are with the family at this time.”

A PSNI spokeswoman has appealed for anyone who was in the Victoria Park area early on Sunday to contact them.

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