The parents of a Dungiven boy who died a year ago from a cancerous tumour have spoken about the outpouring of support from friends, family and the community that has helped them cope in the last year.
Niall Craig-Kealey died on April 3, leaving his mum, Caroline Craig and dad, Damien Kealey heartbroken. The five-year-old touched the hearts of everyone he met, locally and further afield.
On Wednesday, Caroline and Damien, and Niall’s little sister, Nadine (3), gathered at his former school, St Canice PS in Dungiven, with staff and pupils to release 330 blue balloons - Niall’s favourite colour - into the sky.
“To think they have done this, and all the money they have raised for the NI Children’s Hospice, is amazing,” said Damien of St. Canice PS.
Caroline said: “It’s hard to think Niall is gone a year, but it’s lovely to come up to the school and see everyone. It’s beautiful. Niall would love this and he would be running around mad with the balloons. It’s hard to believe it’s a year because it doesn’t feel like it’s a year.”
Damien said: “You have your sad days, and I don’t think we’ll ever get over it, but days like this help. We want to say a massive ‘thank you’ to everyone for keeping Niall’s memory alive.”
Caroline said they will be forever proud of their beautiful, brave little boy.
“We’re so proud of him, and all the people whose lives he touched,” said Caroline.
St. Canice PS principal, Ciaran Loane said: “It was a beautiful celebration to remember Niall’s short life with us here at the school.”
Mr Loane said the school had also raised £1,000 for the NI Children’s Hospice from a sponsored walk and by selling daffodils.