Tragic Londonderry toddler Ronan ‘full of life and a real character’

Two-year-old Ronan McGavigan from Londonderry who was knocked down and killed near his home on Sunday
Two-year-old Ronan McGavigan from Londonderry who was knocked down and killed near his home on Sunday

A funeral service for the toddler knocked down and killed in Londonderry on Sunday will take place in the city on Wednesday.

Two-year-old Ronan McGavigan was struck by a Citroen Picasso car close to his home on the Lone Moor Road near the Brandywell football stadium.

The service will be held at St Columba’s Long Tower Church at 11.30am.

It is understood that Ronan had run on to the road to retrieve a ball just before the tragedy occurred around 1.15pm.

Long Tower priest Father Eamon Graham has comforted Ronan’s family.

He said: “This is every parent’s nightmare. I think it will take time for this to sink in.

“The local community, the people along the Lone Moor Road, are very good and very supportive and they are very appreciative of that.”

Fr Graham added: “He was just out playing on a sunny morning. The family are not long back from holidays in Spain, and they were just talking about the happy memories they had and also the amount of good he brought to their lives.

“He was two and at that age children are starting to get their wee bit of independence and Ronan was very full of life and a real character.”

Police have said the driver of the car was spoken to and that their inquiries are continuing.

Forensic accident investigators were at the scene most of the day on Sunday.

An internet appeal launched by a friend of the McGavigan family has already raised more than £3,000 to support Ronan’s grieving relatives – including a £1,000 donation from West Brom and Republic of Ireland footballer James McClean.

Launching the Just Giving site appeal, the friend said: “I’m setting up this page in the hope that it will help his family with any expenses that may arise within the coming weeks.”

She added: “Our whole city is shocked and saddened with this news today, and we are all grieving your loss. Thoughts and prayers are with you all. RIP Ronan (Ro Ro) xxx.”

Another family friend posted the message: “Sleep tight wee Ronan, we had the pleasure of meeting you for a short time & what a cool wee dude you were. Can’t even begin to imagine how missed you’ll be xxx.”

Independent councillor Sean Carr said the community is “rallying around” the family at this sad time.