‘We will all miss Jay’s big smile’

A child who fell victim to a fatal incident at a small Co Down lake was a “lovely child who was a pleasure to have in school” whose “big smile” will be sorely missed.

Jay Moffett
Jay Moffett

Jay Moffett died after getting into difficulties in a water body which lies just south of the village of Scarva on Monday afternoon.

It is understood Jay had been playing with some friends at the time.

A number of floral tributes were left on public display in the area, including one which bore the message: “Jay, so sorry I couldn’t have done more to help you.”

The air ambulance helicopter was among the vehicles which responded to the incident, and the boy was taken to Craigavon Area Hospital.

Group commander Gary Magwood said it had been a “dramatic” scene.

Commander Magwood told RTE: “We had the young man’s father in the water trying to retrieve his son, being assisted by a colleague, a friend of the family.

“Our crews assisted with ropes and lines and they were able to recover the young man from the water, medical assistance was rendered at the scene and then he was transferred to Craigavon Area Hospital where he was pronounced dead unfortunately.

“At this stage our condolences go out to the family.

“This is a traumatic incident, including that for our crews who are from the local area, and are known to the family.

“As a father myself, this has a devastating effect on the crews and the local community and the family, we are just devastated by what has happened yesterday.

“I am led to believe that he had went down with a few friends and they had to got into difficulties within the water.

“The friends left to get help and subsequently we were notified and attended, and that is my understanding of what happened.”

A message from Scarva Primary School said he had been “a lovely child who was a pleasure to have in school for both staff and pupils alike”, adding: “Also our thoughts are with his peers for whom this will also be a terrible shock.”

Tullylish Amateur Boxing Club said Jay had been a “much-loved club member... rest easy Jay, we will all miss that big smile”.

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart said it was “devastating news to hear of another family plunged into sorrow”.

A message from Reverend Rodney Magennis, of Loughbrickland, Donaghmore and Scarva Church of Ireland, said: “As a church in the heart of Scarva village we are deeply saddened by the tragic death of a 13-year-old boy in a local lake.

“We offer to his family and friends our prayerful love and support in the days that are to come.

“It is a tragic event to happen in such a beautiful village and everyone is feeling the shock of it all, so to this end I am opening St Matthew’s Parish Church of Ireland today (Tuesday) from 3pm until 6pm for anyone who would like somewhere to go, to sit in the quietness and pray for this family who are going through this dreadful time.”

He ended by quoting from the Beatitudes of Matthew 5:4 (NIV): “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

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