The teenage girl killed in a weekend farm tragedy was an “exceptionally gentle, kind and caring” pupil at Newry High who will be greatly missed, the school principal has said.
Following the death of 14-year-old Abbie Nummy on Saturday, Iestyn Brown said the school community has been left “heartbroken” at news of the Year 10 pupil’s passing.
“Abbie was a very popular, conscientious and talented pupil,” Mr Brown said.
“She was exceptionally gentle, kind and caring. She will be very much missed in school by her fellow pupils and staff alike and will be remembered with great love and affection by all those who knew her.”
Prior to the tragedy on Saturday – which took place in the rural Bernish area – there had been no previous farm fatalities during 2019 the Health and Safety NI (HSENI) has confirmed.
The school principal went on to say: “Abbie’s wide circle of friends and classmates are heartbroken by her untimely loss and are being supported by staff and relevant professionals.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Abbie’s family at this tragic time and we extend our sincere sympathy and condolences to them.”
HSENI officials visited the scene of the tragedy and have launched an investigation.
A spokesman said: “HSENI have received a report of an incident in Newry, has attended the scene, and is currently investigating the circumstances.”
Among the many tributes being paid to Abbie on social media, one described her as “the loveliest, well mannered child and will be missed by all who knew her”.
Another said: “Abbie was incredible. Absolutely heartbreaking.”
The PSNI said it will be preparing a report on the sudden death for the coroner.
Newry and Armagh MLA William Irwin has visited the Nummy family and said there are no words to describe the heartache in the family circle.
“Nothing prepares you for the death of a child,” he said.
Mr Irwin suffered a similar tragedy when his 15-year-old son died in a swimming pool accident more than 20 years ago.
“I know that pain and it is unbearable pain,” he said.
“It is important that family and friends rally round [the Nummys] at this time, as family and friends can help you through a tragedy like this – especially in those early days.
“In my experience, part of you doesn’t believe it has happened. It’s so hard to comprehend. We all know the loss of anyone...can be tough, but a child is something different,” Mr Irwin added.
A funeral service for Abbie will be held at 1pm on Tuesday in St Mary’s Parish Church in Newry.
• A total of seven people died as a result of accidents on farms in Northern Ireland last year, according to Health and Safety Executive NI figures.
Three of the fatalities involved livestock, and two people died in incidents involving farm machinery.
One death was caused by a fall or falling objects and the other was the result of an unspecified incident.
The total number of farm fatalities in 2018 was unchanged from the previous year when four people died as a result of accidents involving machinery and three from livestock-related incidents.