Derry balloon release in memory of wee Oscar

Oscar Knox, who died in May after battling cancer.
Oscar Knox, who died in May after battling cancer.

Hundreds of coloured balloons are to be released in Derry’s city centre in memory of young Oscar Knox.

Crowds are expected to gather at Guildhall Square on Tuesday (May 20th) at 8pm for the cross-community event.

Organiser David McConnell (27) said he wanted to do something to mark the passing of a “true wee hero”.

Little Oscar died last Thursday after a long battle with childhood cancer neuroblastoma.

The ‘Wee Oscar’ campaign highlighted not just Oscar’s battle, but that of other children across the north who are living with cancer.

The five-year-old’s death caused heartbreak across the north of Ireland and beyond.

Organisers of the event on Tuesday have urged everyone to bring along their own yellow balloons, with yellow being the adopted colour for children battling cancer.

Alternatively people can bring along green or blue balloons, or failing this whatever colour people have to hand.

Mr McConnell said there had been a great response since he posted his idea yesterday.

Local young people from Youth First in the Bogside have decided to make banners and signs for the event.

Bogside man Mr McConnell said: “I’m hoping for a very big crowd. Watching his battle over the past two and half years and how happy he was in his life and then seeing that wee TV programme on him last night, it just puts everything into perspective.

“It is amazing to see how full his life was and how much impact he has had around the community. He brought people together from all backgrounds, and cancer knows no boundaries.”

Mr McConnell added: “When everyone has gathered I’d like everyone to let the balloons go together and to finish I am going to ask the public to sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ for the wee man and there will be collection boxes going round with all donations will be giving to the Oscar Knox Appeal.”

Following Oscar’s death last week, the Derry skyline was dotted with dozens of Chinese lanterns set off across the city at twilight.

Young Derry City FC fans also received praise from across Ireland and beyond when they unfurled their own banners paying tribute to little Oscar.

Since then, almost 40,000 people have also ‘liked’ a new Facebook page set up to get Oscar nominated for this year’s Pride of Britain Awards.