A CLOSE-KNIT community in Co Down is “standing shoulder to shoulder” with the family of a toddler killed in a tragic accident.
Two-year-old Daniel Grant from Mayobridge died on Saturday evening after becoming entangled in the cord of a window blind.
He was rushed from his Bavan Road home to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry at around 6.45pm but is understood to have been pronounced dead soon after arrival.
Daniel’s parents Brian and Paula Grant own a shop in the village and local political representatives have said the entire community is “standing shoulder to shoulder” with the family at this difficult time.
The area’s MP, Margaret Ritchie, expressed her condolences and said: “Bereavement is always difficult irrespective of the age of the person who has died, but is more poignant and difficult when the death of somebody so young occurs.”
A police spokesman has said there were no suspicious circumstances.
This is the second tragedy to affect the Bavan Road area of Mayobridge in recent years.
The family home of Kathy Dinsmore – one of two Co Down women murdered while on holiday in Turkey in August 2011 – is only a short distance away.
Two-and-a-half-year-old Daniel was one of four children. His siblings are Brian jnr, Niamh and baby brother Peter.
In a joint statement with Mayobridge SDLP councillor Sean O’Hare, Mrs Ritchie added: “Our thoughts and prayers and those of the wider community in Mayobridge are with the family at this difficult time.
“We know that everybody within the local community, including ourselves, will provide support, solidarity and prayers to the family in their sad and tragic loss.”
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents at least 25 deaths across the UK since 1999 have been blamed on blind cords.
The daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Britain died in similar circumstances last year.
Alexandra Lucy Hoegh, two, was found suspended and unconscious by her mother Dana at their west London home in October.
Her father is Morten Hoegh, a shipping tycoon from Norway.
Bellaghy man Martin Regan, who lost his 23-month-old grandson Dean in a blind cord accident in January 2011, now campaigns to warn others of the dangers. He said his blood ran cold when he heard the tragic news from Mayobridge on Saturday night.
Speaking to UTV, Mr Regan said: “When I got the phone call immediately my blood went cold and I just had flashbacks of watching Dean die in the hospital.”
The grieving grandfather said he would like to pass on his condolences to the Grant family and that his prayers are with them.
“For me, I’ve never got over it. You learn to live with it in a sense but each time you walk into a room or a building and you see a blind cord hanging you just feel like ripping it from the wall.
“And I can’t emphasise enough for people to have a look around their house and look at the blinds and ask - are they safe?” Mr Regan said.
South Down Alliance Councillor Patrick Clarke also extended his sympathy to the Grant family and said: “It is a massive shock to everyone and there will be a deep sense of sadness following this sudden death.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this very difficult time and I know that the community will rally round and support the family in the coming days.”
Sinn Fein MLA for South Down Caitriona Ruane said her thoughts were with the Grant family and added: “This tragic accident has been felt by the entire community and I would like to extend my condolences to the family.”