Community reeling after death of boy knocked from bike

Heartfelt messages of sympathy have been voiced for a grieving young family following the loss of their five-year-old boy, who was knocked off his bicycle by a van and killed.

Ollie Simmons-Watt (pictured) died after the accident at around 3.40pm on Thursday in Limavady’s Irwin Avenue area.

Sergeant Amanda McIvor said: “We believe at this time that Ollie was on his bike in the area at the time of the collision.

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“Officers attended alongside colleagues from the NI Ambulance Service and Air Ambulance NI, and the boy was taken to hospital for treatment, but unfortunately died from his injuries.

Ollie Simmons-Watt who died on Thursday

Roe Valley Residents Association (RVRA) posted on Facebook: “It is with great sadness that we hear of the passing of one of our young members.

“Ollie’s smile was infectious and he was full of character.

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“He kept everyone entertained at any activity he participated in.

“He will be dearly missed by his friends, management, staff and volunteers at RVRA.

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“We pass on our sympathies and condolences on to Ollie’s mammy and daddy (Stacie and Gareth), brother Freddie and sister Bella, and the wider family circle at this very difficult time.”

The ‘Life After’ bereavement charity asked everyone to “keep Ollie’s family in your thoughts and prayers as they come to terms with this traumatic event”.

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They added: “We offer our deepest sympathies to the family and wish them God’s richest blessings in the days and months ahead with the reassurance that we are there to provide support and assistance if or when required.”

Megan McShane wrote: “Can’t stop thinking about him, my heart goes out to the whole family. Everyone pray and God please give them the strength that they can get through this. Rest in peace Ollie, you were a wee dote.”

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Stacey McLean meanwhile had this to say: “Absolutely heartbreaking. Thoughts and prayers are with Stacie, Gareth, Bella and Freddie and all the Simmons and Watt family. Sleep easy Ollie wee darling.”

Others paying tribute to the youngster’s family yesterday included Decla Mullan, who said: “My heart is so, so sore. Ollie you were the funniest little boy ever and made everybody smile. Thoughts and prayers are with Stacie, Gareth and the Simmons/Watts families at this awful time.”

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Catherine Taylor said: “Absolutely heartbreaking. Thinking of his family, and also of those who poured so much love and goodwill into this wee man’s life. Standing with you all in your loss.”

SDLP MLA Cara Hunter said: “I can’t begin to imagine what his family are going through, but they have my deepest sympathies and I hope they will take some comfort from the outpouring of support at this awful time.

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“Limavady is a very tight-knit area and people have been left shocked and reeling by this incident.

“I have no doubt that the local community will rally around the Simmons-Watt family in their hour of need and do all they can to help as they come to terms with this devastating loss.

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“I’d like to thank the emergency services, including our ambulance and air ambulance staff who responded to this incident and would urge anyone with any information about what happened to come forward to police as soon as possible to assist with their investigation.”

Official accident statistics from the PSNI show that fatal road collisions involving children are relatively rare.

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The latest stats available (accurate as of 00.01am on Friday) showed that, so far this year, out of the 35 fatalities resulting from crashes so far, two are of children aged under 16 (including young Ollie).

The figure was the same from January 1 to September 29, 2021.

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And during the same period in 2020 there were three under-16 fatalities.

Overall road death statistics for the year to date show that 13 of the 36 fatalities were in what the PSNI classifies as “urban” surroundings, with the remaining 20 being classed as “rural”.

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This is more or less in keeping with previous years; fatalities tend to happen more on non-urban roads.