Parents of school boy killed in car crash pay tribute to their much-loved son
THE grieving parents of an eight year-old boy who died after being hit by a car in Co Derry said last night he would stay 'forever in their hearts'.
Daniel Bradley, from Maghera, was struck by a car on the main Derry to Belfast road at around 8pm on Thursday.
It is believed the child may have been separated from a relative while visiting a service station on the Glenshane Road.
Police last night said they are investigating the circumstances of the collision.
The tragedy has come as a huge shock to the area where the Bradley family are well known.
Daniel's father James sits on the board of governors at St Patrick's Primary School, Glen. He is well known for his love of music and teaches guitar. The family also have strong connections with Watty Graham's GAC, Glen.
In a statement last night James and Janice Bradley paid tribute to their son who they described affectionately as "Dan the man".
“Daniel taught us to step into his world," they said. "A world filled with challenges and differing perspectives. He taught us to embrace autism and we quickly learned from him that different is not less. We love you. Dan the Man - Forever in our hearts.”
Parish priest Fr Patrick Doherty said the community would rally to support the Bradley family.
“We express our sympathy and it's a difficult time for the family but the parish and neighbourhood rally to support them,” he said.
Watty Graham's GAC PRO Conor Molly said people in the area are stunned by the tragedy.
“He was a special wee boy and that makes it all the harder,” he said.
An underage tournament due to take place at the grounds - close to the scene of the accident - has been cancelled today while the venue for two Derry senior and intermediate championship games due to take place there tomorrow has also been changed.
Daniel was a pupil at Kilronan School in Magherafelt, which caters for children with special needs.
In a statement the school paid tribute to Daniel describing him as a "much loved member of our school community".
“He was lively, full of fun and popular with all who knew him.”
SDLP councillor Martin Kearney said there was great shock and sadness within the community, a sentiment echoed by Sinn Féin representative Brian McGuigan.
Requiem Mass for Daniel will be held at St Patrick's Church in Glen at 1pm tomorrow.