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School principals pay tribute to Co Down crash victim Christopher Martin

Christopher Martin was killed when the car he was driving left the road near Crossgar in Co Down in the early hours of Sunday

A TEENAGER killed in a road crash in Co Down has been described by his former school principal as "one of life's gentlemen" who "touched everyone who knew him".

Christopher Martin (18) was killed when the car he was driving left the Saintfield Road near Crossgar at around 4am on Sunday.

It is understood that Christopher, who lived in Downpatrick, was returning home from Belfast after a night out with friends when he crashed.

He was a pupil at St Colmcille's High School in Crossgar until June 2014, where he completed his GCSEs, before moving to St Patrick's Grammar School in Downpatrick to undertake A-level study.

The teenager was believed to be on a year out before starting university and had been working at Sports Direct in Downpatrick.

It is the second road death to hit St Colmcille's in three months, after another former pupil, 18-year-old Matthew Davis, died in January in a crash on the Lisburn Road near Saintfield as he travelled to work in Sainsbury's in Lisburn.

Although both aged 18, Matthew and Christopher were not in the same year group.

St Colmcille's principal Shane McNeill, said that there was a "feeling of general loss and emptiness" amongst the "grieving" community at the Crossgar school.

Mr McNeill told The Irish News: "It is tragic. There is a very sombre mood, a sense of sadness, and the school community is grieving.

"Christopher was very much one of life's gentlemen and was equally popular amongst students and staff alike.

"He was a very hard working, committed and diligent student, who had a wonderful sense of humour, which was always respectful."

The St Colmcille's principal added: "He was a very warm and welcoming character who touched everyone who knew him. That was the essence of him."

Mr McNeill's tribute was echoed by Seán Sloan, the principal of St Patrick's Grammar School in Downpatrick.

Mr Sloan said: "Christopher was a friendly, unassuming, hardworking young man, generous with his time particularly in helping others around him, always with an infectious smile.

"Christopher was always willing to assist in school life. He quickly became very popular with his fellow students and teachers with a great sense of humour."

He added: "Christopher was always courteous in school with a helpful, pleasant, mature nature and strong sense of commitment as a role model at St Patrick's Grammar School."

Christopher, a keen soccer player, had represented amateur league side Kilmore Rec FC at various underage levels since first joining the club as an U-11 player.

Police have appealed for anyone with information to contact officers on 101.

Christopher is survived by his parents Kieran and Anne Marie, his brother Philip and sister Hannah.

Requiem Mass will be celebrated in the Church Of The Immaculate Conception and St Joseph, Crossgar, tomorrow at noon followed by burial in The Holy Family Cemetery in Teconnaught.

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