By Alan Rodgers
THE nine-year-old boy from Tyrone who was killed in a ‘hit and run’ collision in Bundoran at the weekend has been described by his school principal as a ‘special and beautiful little boy’.
Mrs Eileen Ward, head of St Mary’s PS in Dunamore, said that Ronan Wilson from Kildress had enriched the entire school community.
In a reflection before the end of the Requiem Mass for the popular schoolboy, Mrs Ward praised his huge personality and an ‘endearing and infectious smile’.
“Although small in stature, it was hard not to notice him when he entered the room,” she said.
“Everybody loved Ronan, but Kathleen, who has been his classroom assistant since P1, has a special bond with him which I know she will carry in her heart forever.
“Ronan loved sport and the outdoors, but he always listened well to the teacher and tried his very best in school. Ronan wore his heart on his sleeve and had endless stories to tell and couldn’t wait to tell them.
“What stands out is how he took Annabelle, his bestie, under his wing, sorting out her books, giving her the odd nudge when needed and making sure she was having fun in the playground. Ronan was a great friend to all in his class and there is no doubt they will miss him dreadfully.
“We may be the educators in school, but Ronan has taught us so much more. He has taught us how to embrace life and be happy, the importance of friendship and to support others. He taught us how to laugh and to have fun, how to be confident and content in our own skin.”
“He will be our angel walking beside us and will never be far away. His life on earth was short, but he touched so many and will always be loved and remembered by all his friends and family in St Mary’s.”
Requiem Mass for Ronan took place at the Church of St Mary Immaculate in Dunamore today (Thursday).
His remains in a small white coffin made the short journey from the family home in a Scania lorry emblazoned with an image of the popular young man. The cortege was led by a single black horse, and three lorries, followed by family and friends.
Underage members and officials of Kildress Wolfe Tones GAA, including Ronan’s teammates formed a Guard of Honour outside the church. Pupils of St Mary’s Dunamore and Dean Maguirc College, led by the Carrickmore school’s principal, James Warnock, also stood in sombre silence as the remains were brought to the church.
A range of items reflecting Ronan’s interests in life were brought to the altar by his young friends. They included a football, family photographs, his Scania jacket, a photograph taken on his First Communion Day, football boots, his school jersey, X-Box controller, a bottle of Prime drink and a Tyrone jersey.
In his homily, the Parish Priest of Kildress, Fr Paddy Hughes, asked mourners to pray for the Wilson family. He said it was hard to comprehend what had happened.
“Since the news broke late on Saturday night, the whole of the parish has been stunned and are lost for words. What can any of us say to take away or ease the terrible pain that the Wilson family are suffering,” he added.
“When words fail us, our presence and just being there speaks volumes. Since Saturday night, that presence of people – young and old alike – being there to help in any way they can was so evident.”
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