Villagers rally around Jay’s grief-stricken family

Villagers in Scarva, Co Down have rallied in support of the family of a young teenager who died as a result of an outdoor swimming tragedy last week.

The JustGiving fundraising page online has already raised thousands of pounds for the family of Jay Moffett.
The JustGiving fundraising page online has already raised thousands of pounds for the family of Jay Moffett.

Jay Moffett got into difficulties at Canal Court last Monday afternoon and could not be saved despite a dramatic rescue attempt.

Writing on the Tandragee Junior High School Facebook page, teacher Mr K Gale paid tribute to the popular 13-year-old pupil.

He said: Absolutely heartbreaking news about Jay. Such a good lad who always brought a smile to everyone’s face.”

In response to the tragedy that has rocked the village, a crowd-funding initiative has been launched in the hope of bringing some comfort to Jay’s grieving family.

By yesterday afternoon more than £3,000 had been raised, despite the stated target being £1,000.

The message accompanying the fundraising appeal says: “Our wee village has this week been shattered by the tragic and sudden loss of Jay Moffett. We are all heartbroken for his parents, Wayne and Caroline and his whole family circle.

“Grief as we know, does not stop with the funeral and this couple and their young children now have to adjust to a life they have never known before.”

Speaking to the News Letter, one of the appeal organisers thanked those who had already contributed.

“As a small close knit community we have all been affected by the tragic loss of Jay. As stated the page is to show that we are thinking of his parents and offering our support in the little way we can.

“The funds raised will be given in its entirety to Jays’ parents and their young family to use as they wish as they grieve the loss of their precious son.

“We are thankful to the many people who have already donated.”

Meanwhile, the first ever UN ‘Drowning Prevention Day’ was marked on Sunday in an effort to reduce water-related deaths in the UK.

It has been launched byt the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) in response to figures that show drowning is among the ten leading causes of death for children aged 5-14 years around the world.

NWSF chair Dawn Whittaker, said the UN resolution on drowning prevention is “all the more poignant because of the recent spike in accidental drownings during the hot weather this month”.

Carlene McAvoy of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said: “Since the launch of the National Drowning Prevention Strategy in 2016, great strides have been made towards to reducing fatal water incidents in the UK.

“However, 254 people accidentally drowned last year which demonstrates there is still a lot more work to be done.

“RoSPA will continue to support the National Water Safety Forum and combine our efforts to help keep people safe on, and near, the water through the ‘Respect the Water’ campaign. World Drowning Prevention Day provides an unmissable opportunity to share life-saving water safety messages, but also gives us the chance to reflect on the progress made to reduce the number of accidental drownings in the UK, as well as allowing us to consider what further action needs to be taken.”

The safety expert added: “The public are also reminded to ‘float to live’ if they find themselves getting into trouble in the water and to follow these steps: lean back and use your arms and legs to help you float, then get control of your breathing before calling for help or swimming to safety.

“If you see someone else in trouble in the water, call 999. If you are at the seaside ask for the coastguard, if you are inland, ask for the fire service.”

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