Northern Ireland news

North Belfast man who died in England after fall was 'gentle giant'

North Belfast man Niall McCullough (27) died in Birmingham on Wednesday
Marie Louise McConville

THE family of a young north Belfast man who died in England after suffering a head injury during a night out with friends have told of how they have been "absolutely devastated".

Niall McCullough, who was originally from Windermere Gardens, fell down steps in Wolverhampton on March 12.

The 27-year-old was initially taken to New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton before he was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham for specialist treatment.

The young man, who worked as a Bike Build Co-ordinator for Wiggle, died on Wednesday, just under two weeks after he suffered the head injury. His parents, Margaret and Billy, were by their son's side when he passed away. The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust is now assisting the family with plans to bring Niall home for his funeral.

It is the second tragedy to touch the family. In 2015, his 12-year-old sister, Caoimhe died from an undiagnosed heart condition. Following her death, Caoimhe's organs were donated to help others. Six years on, the decision was taken to also donate Niall's organs, which have gone to help five people.

Speaking to The Irish News, Niall's mother Margaret said her son would be remembered as "a gentleman who never gave his parents a minute's trouble".

"The family are absolutely devastated and are heart broken," she said.

"Both Niall and Caoimhe have given the gift of life to many people. Organ donation is something Niall was very keen on following the loss of his younger sister."

Niamh McCullough said the death of her brother, who had a keen interest in kick-boxing and mountain biking, had left her family "shell shocked" adding that they are "comforted by the thought of him and Caoimhe being reunited to watch over us all".

"Niall will always be remembered as our gentle giant, a quiet man of very little words but enough words to leave the biggest imprint in all our lives," she said.

"Always making everyone laugh and putting everyone before himself. Not a bad bone in his body and not a bad word can be said about our Niall. He will forever be missed and loved by each and everyone of our immediate and extended family. No words can describe the heartache of losing my big brother. Life is so unfair, but I’m glad Caoimhe is no longer alone up there."

Posting on Facebook, Niall's employer, Wiggle paid tribute to his "determination and passion" which it said made him "a vital cog in our bike build and assembly team".

"He lived and breathed our company values. He was brave and was all in."

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