Dungiven school’s touching tribute to ‘inspirational’ former pupil, Niall

At back, far left is Saint Canice PS, Dungiven Principal, Ciaran Loane with Damien and Caroline Kealey, their children Patrick and Nadine. Also pictured (front, far left) is St. Canice PS pupil Kathryn. They're pictured at the unveiling of a special bench at St. Canice PS where Damian and Caroline's son, Niall,  attended nursery and school. The bench is in memory of Niall, who sadly passed away from illness in 2014.
At back, far left is Saint Canice PS, Dungiven Principal, Ciaran Loane with Damien and Caroline Kealey, their children Patrick and Nadine. Also pictured (front, far left) is St. Canice PS pupil Kathryn. They're pictured at the unveiling of a special bench at St. Canice PS where Damian and Caroline's son, Niall, attended nursery and school. The bench is in memory of Niall, who sadly passed away from illness in 2014.

The parents of a Dungiven boy who died from a cancerous tumour have thanked his school and former nursery unit for a touching gesture that will mean he will never be forgotten.

Niall Craig-Kealey died on April 3, 2014, leaving his mum, Caroline and dad, Damien heartbroken.

Niall Craig Kealey

Niall Craig Kealey

The five-year-old touched the hearts of everyone he met, locally and further afield. Among them staff at St Canice Nursery Unit and School, which Niall attended.

“Niall was a very inspirational and brave wee boy who touched the hearts of everyone who had the pleasure of meeting him,” said Mrs McCloskey.

“He may have been a small boy, but he left a great big footprint on all our hearts and on our school.”

In a heartfelt move, the school unveiled a special wooden bench in Niall’s memory.

We are so grateful for the school for keeping Niall’s memory alive

Damien Kealey

Niall’s parents, Caroline and Damien, his sister, Nadine, baby brother Patrick, and cousin Kathryn were on hand for the special moment.

A plaque on the bench, with Niall’s name and the dates when he was born and passed away, had a special inscription that reads: “A Small Boy Walked By Leaving Footprints On Our Hearts Forever”.

The bench is placed outside the nursery unit, and will be seen by everyone when they first enter the school grounds.

Niall’s dad, Damien, said: “We are so grateful for the school for keeping Niall’s memory alive,” said Damien.

Nadine on the bench dedicated in her brother's member.

Nadine on the bench dedicated in her brother's member.

Caroline agreed it was a lovely gesture, and said it means so much to the family.

St. Canice PS Principal, Ciaran Loane said: “The memory bench is to ensure that Niall Craig-Kealey is never forgotten.”