Northern Ireland news

Co Antrim boy (9) who died in scrambler bike crash remembered for 'beautiful smile and beautiful nature'

Tributes at the scene in Ballymena where nine year-old Charlie Joyce lost his life on a scrambler. Picture by Pacemaker

A nine-year-old boy who died after a scrambler bike crash in Co Antrim was last night remembered for his "beautiful smile and beautiful nature".

Charlie Joyce was killed following a collision with another scrambler in Ballymena.

Another boy, aged 13, remained in a critical condition in hospital.

Both children were taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, one by air ambulance, after the crash in the Dunvale area of the Dunclug estate shortly before 5pm on Thursday.

A police spokesman said the young boy had "died in hospital as a result of his injuries after a collision between two bikes".

"A second boy age 13 was taken to hospital and is understood to be in a critical condition this morning," he said.

Police have appealed for witnesses to the collision to come forward.

Parish priest Fr Patrick Delargy yesterday visited the Joyce home and said the family were devastated.

He said they were finding it "very hard to process the whole matter".

"There are not the words, I find it very hard to find the right words to say in those situations," he told the BBC.

He said he prayed with the family and felt it brought them some comfort.

Tributes were paid last night on social media to the schoolboy.

All Saints Boxing Club wrote on Facebook that "this morning we woke to the tragic loss of one of our All Saints Young Guns" and added that "our thoughts and prayers" are with the young boy's family.

One friend of the family wrote: "Heaven gained a very special angel with a beautiful smile and beautiful nature", while another tribute described the young boy as "beautiful", adding that his death was "such tragic and devastating news for the Dunclug estate".

SDLP councillor Eugene Reid said that Charlie's death was "a huge shock to the local tight-knit community" in the Dunclug area.

"To lose a child, especially in these circumstances, is just horrendous and my thoughts are with the child's family as they struggle to cope with the worst news imaginable for a parent," he said,

"I know the whole community will join me in wishing them a speedy recovery and our thoughts are with them as they receive medical treatment."

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley, said the families involved were in his prayers, while Alliance mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Noel Williams, said he was "deeply saddened by the news".

Sinn Fein MLA Philip McGuigan said the "local community has been shocked and saddened at this tragic death".

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news