An aunt of the 14-year-old schoolboy killed after being hit by a van outside his home last night told how he “was a very good and very cheerful wee boy”.
Mark Colgan, a year 10 pupil at St Colman’s College in Newry, died after a collision on the Scarva Road, Banbridge, just before 8am yesterday.
He was rushed to Craigavon Area Hospital but died a short time later.
The 30-year-old driver of the van was initially arrested but later released unconditionally.
Marie McAteer, 67, said her great-nephew had been a “very active wee boy who played gaelic football and hurling for the local club Aghaderg GAC”.
“Everyone is in complete shock,” she said.
“He was waiting for the bus for school and it was raining heavily.
I think the bus was late and as they live opposite the bus stop his mum Felicity said I will drop you down as far as Scarva.
“She went to get the car and didn’t know what happened, if he stepped out or the van just hit him.”
Miss McAteer said Mark was the youngest of three children.
“Felicity and Mervyn are trying to get things organised, but they can’t because there is a post-mortem going on,” she said.
“Everything is very raw and very hard to accept at the minute.”
Aghaderg/Ballyvarley GAA Club issued a statement on the tragedy yesterday evening.
It read: “It is with deep regret we learned of the passing of one of our juvenile players in an accident today.
“Mark was an enthusiastic and talented footballer and hurler who played a huge part in our underage teams.
“He was also a quiet and unassuming young man who always had a smile on his face.
“His family have been at the cornerstone of our club since its foundation.
“We would like to take this opportunity to pass on our heartfelt condolences to his parents Mervyn and Felicity, sister Aideen and brother Paul and the wider Colgan and Stewart families, on behalf of the club and community.”
Banbridge SDLP councillor Seamus Doyle extended his sympathies to the family, saying the incident on what is a main road in the town has shocked the entire community.
SDLP South Down MLA Seán Rogers said: “This is absolutely heartbreaking for the boy’s family, and my thoughts and prayers are with them at this incredibly sad time.”
UUP MLA Jo-Anne Dobson also extended her “thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of the teenage boy involved in this tragedy”.
“The PSNI are currently appealing for information from anyone who was travelling on the Scarva Road just before 8am in the morning and who may have witnessed the incident,” she said.
“I would encourage anyone who can help in any way to get in touch with Banbridge PSNI.”