'Lovely lad' | 

Tributes paid to ‘beautiful boy’ who died in Down swimming tragedy

His father and another man desperately tried to save the boy as emergency services rushed to the scene.

Tributes have been paid to Jay Moffett

Jonathan Bell

A teenager who drowned in a tragic swimming accident has been remembered as a “beautiful boy” who always had a smile on his face.

Jay Moffett (13) died after getting into difficulty in the water in the Canal Court area of Scarva, Co Down on Monday afternoon.

His father and another man desperately tried to save the boy as emergency services rushed to the scene.

Despite the rapid response from the emergency services, which also included the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and the Air Ambulance, he later passed away at Craigavon Hospital.

Reverend Rodney Magennis, of Loughbrickland, Donaghmore and Scarva Church of Ireland said the village had been “deeply saddened” by the tragedy.

He has opened St Matthew’s in the village as a space for people to reflect.

"We offer to his family and friends our prayerful love and support in the days that are to come,” he said.

"It is a tragic event to happen in such a beautiful village and everyone is feeling the shock of it all, so to this end I am opening St Matthew's Parish Church of Ireland today (Tuesday) from 3pm until 6pm for anyone who would like somewhere to go, to sit in the quietness and pray for this family who are going through this dreadful time.

"Please do come for even just a few minutes as we remember before God this family as they deal with what has happened.

"’Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.’ Matthew 5:4.”

The community has been left devastated.

In a Facebook post Tullylish Amateur Boxing Club offered its condolences to the boy’s family.

“Tullylish ABC are deeply saddened following the tragic and untimely passing of our much loved club member Jay Moffett,” the club said.

"All of us at the club pass on our sincerest condolences to Wayne, Caroline, Ollie and Daisy. Rest easy Jay, we will all miss that big smile.”

Hundreds of people have passed on their sympathies across social media sites.

"So sorry to hear this awful news about Jay he was a great wee boy,” said Bernard McComiskey.

"From everyone at Gilford ABC our thoughts and prayers go out to you all. Family and friends in this sad time.”

Tom Keeley added: “A lovely lad – quiet unassuming and good fun – will be missed. RIP – thoughts with the family.”

Emma Greer added: “A beautiful boy from the inside out, anyone who knew Jay would know he always had a smile on his face to anyone he met.”

Fire Service Commander Gary Magwood described the scene as “traumatic” for those who responded.

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