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Northern Ireland man's tribute to grandson Caleb Scott (14) killed in crash in Australia

Teenager Caleb had dreamt of family trip to Northern Ireland

by allan preston

A former unionist mayor has paid tribute to his 14-year-old grandson, who was killed in a road accident in Australia last week.

John Scott, who was Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council before retiring last year, said his grandson Caleb Scott was "a marvellous young fella who loved life".

The sport-loving teenager was knocked down, in what local police called a freak accident, by a truck last Friday while cycling home from school with a friend in the Whyalla Norrie region in South Australia.

Mr Scott is due to fly out to join his family - Caleb's parents Stacey and Jonathan, and siblings Jackson (17), JJ (11) and Sammy (2) - today and has thanked the public for their support.

"It's been wonderful that people are out there thinking about you at such a sad time," he said.

Mr Scott said he had enjoyed a close bond with Caleb, who had dreamt of taking a family trip to Northern Ireland.

"As a 14-year-old he was really into his sports like baseball, Australian football, soccer," he said.

"He played them every weekend right through winter to summer. He loved his mum, dad and family. He loved us too, always talking and getting on."

Mr Scott, who had been with the UUP before switching to the DUP, said his son Jonathan, Caleb's father, was one of the first to arrive at the scene.

"Caleb was cycling back to his house with a friend," he said.

"There was a junction at the crossroads, his friend stopped but unfortunately Caleb rode on and hit the side of a truck. His dad was there within minutes, one of the first on the scene."

His heartbroken mother later arrived as a blanket was laid over his body.

Mr Scott said: "They had a big tent covering him for five hours until the investigator flew up from Adelaide.

"His body is only down now to the coroner in Adelaide, so they think they'll only get his body back on Thursday or Friday. Unfortunately the coffin won't be open because he's in such a bad state."

Tragically, Caleb never had the opportunity to visit Northern Ireland to see where his dad had grown up.

"Every time he saw me, he said, 'When am I getting over to Ireland? I want to see where you live and where my dad came from'.

"He just wanted to come over, but never got the chance.

"It means a lot to us that we spent time in Australia every year to be close to him. We'd go fishing and the boys loved catching lobsters and crabs, cooking them at a log cabin by the beach.

"My daughter started a fundraiser, she's hoping to do something in Caleb's memory at his school."

The fund has so far raised over £400 with a goal of £1,000. To donate visit, searching for Sarah-Greer.

Speaking to media in Australia, Caleb's grieving parents remembered their son as a lovable and quirky chatterbox.

Discussing the accident, his father said: "We had the police trauma unit here and they were quite adamant that it was instantaneous so that's a blessing, I guess."

His dad affectionately said his son was also the "biggest nerd".

"He loved Marvel. My favourite was Spider-Man but his was Iron Man," he said.

"I'd argue with him all day. He would argue about which one could kill the other one and he always thought Iron Man was the best."

Mrs Scott said her son never became a typical grumpy teenager.

"He was the best big brother and he was so affectionate. At 14 years old, he was still happy to give his mum a hug.

"Every day he would say, 'How was your day, mum?'

"He could talk. Non-stop. About everything, anything, nothing. It was non-stop."

His father described the local support from the Whyalla community as "overwhelming".

While having "nothing against the truck driver," he urged other drivers to slow down at schools regardless of whether reduced speed zones were in place.

Belfast Telegraph

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