tragedy | 

Heartache as toddler killed in farm accident named

Ballymoney DUP councillor Mervyn Storey said the family of the boy have been plunged into “incalculable” sorrow

Little Noah McAleese

Little Noah McAleese

Steven MooreSunday World

A family was in mourning yesterday after the tragic death of a two-year-old boy on their farm.

Little Noah McAleese died at Rose Park Farm in Ballymoney, Co Antrim, on Friday.

The tot had just celebrated his second birthday six days ago and earlier this year he was blessed with a little brother.

The farm – complete with an award-winning beach which is normally open on a Saturday to the public but closed yesterday – was transformed from one of joy and happiness to one of despair on Friday.

Police and other agencies were continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident last night.

A heartbreaking family notice was posted on the Facebook page of a funeral directors who confirmed the shocking news.

The post from McKiernan’s Funeral Directors in Kilrea Accompanied by a beautiful image of little Noah wheeling a barrow load of pumpkins from the farm’s purpose-built pumpkin patch.

Little Noah McAleese

McKiernan’s Funeral Directors in Kilrea stated: “We regret to inform you of the tragic passing of Noah Shea McAleese R.I.P. (Ballymoney & Dunloy). Precious son of Johnny and Corrina and adored brother of Cohen.

“Beloved grandson of Seamus and Betty and Kieran and the late Rosemary Cassidy. Adored and never forgotten by the entire McAleese and Cassidy family circle.

“House private please. Funeral Arrangements will be updated when they become available.”

Noah just celebrated his second birthday last week and his dad posted pictures on social media to commemorate his big day.

Along with some cracking pictures of Noah enjoying life on the farm he posted: “2 wonderful years of our Noah boy Loves his diggers, tractors and the odd wee sip of jack!”

Yesterday afternoon the PSNI released a statement to say their officers were continuing to investigate what happened.

A police spokesperson said, “The Police Service of Northern Ireland are liaising with the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSE NI) and Environmental Health from the Causeway Coast and Glens Council to investigate the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of a two-year-old boy in the Bravallen Road area of Ballymoney.”

They also said local officers were continuing to support the family at this “difficult time”.

Nearby GAA club Dunloy Cuchullains also paid tribute to Noah whose father Johnny McAleese had played for the club.

“Everyone at Dunloy GA+CC was deeply saddened to hear the tragic news yesterday of the sudden passing of Noah McAleese,” they said in a statement on Facebook.

“Noah is the son of our former player Johnny and his wife Corrina. We offer our thoughts and prayers to the entire McAleese and Cassidy family circles at this very sad time.”

Rose Park Farm is a working farm owned by the McAleese family since 1995 and has recently become a popular visitor attraction.

The 70-acre farm opened to the public in 2015 and has a petting zoo, an enchanted forest, rose-laden walkways and recently became famous for its inland beach, The Blue Lagoon, which was made available to the public to cool off in during the summer heatwave.

According to the farm’s website, “Our family run farm is a excellent place for families, educational and group visits to suit all ages! We’ve recently been named as the Top Family Farm in Northern Ireland by TripAdvisor!”

But the farm was plunged into despair on Friday afternoon when Noah was injured and later died.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said that it received a 999 call about the incident at 12:32pm on Friday.

Paramedics were sent to the farm and the boy was taken to the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine, County Londonderry.

Police attended the scene and said Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council had been informed.

North Antrim MLA Dr Patricia O’Lynn said her thoughts were with the family of the child who are facing “unspeakable heartbreak”.

She wrote in a post on Twitter: “As news breaks of the tragic death of child in the Bravallen Road area of Ballymoney, my thoughts are with the family now facing unspeakable heartbreak.

“Ballymoney is a close-knit town and this news has sent waves of grief across the community.”

Ballymoney DUP councillor Mervyn Storey said the family of the boy have been plunged into “incalculable” sorrow.

“Words are hard to find in commenting on this tragic incident that has resulted in the death of a little two-year-old boy,” Mr Storey said.

“It is incalculable the sorrow that this family has been plunged into.”

He said that when he learned of the incident he thought as a grandfather himself “how unbearable it would be to have to deal with such grief”.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the immediate family and the wider family circle at this time of sorrow and loss and assure them of our sympathy and support,” he added.

Local UUP councillor Darryl Wilson, in a post on Facebook, wrote the “entire community’s heart is broken” by the “terrible tragedy”.

“No words can express how we are feeling, our collective hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to all of those impacted by this devastating loss,” he added.

A spokesman for the NIAS said: “The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service received a 999 call at 12:32 on Friday 11 November, following reports of a farm incident in Ballymoney.

“NIAS despatched a Rapid Response Paramedic, an Emergency Crew and an Ambulance Officer to the incident.

“Following assessment, the patient was taken to Causeway Hospital.”

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