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Monday 19 August 2019

Devastated mum makes emotional return to spot where her son (8) was killed

Rebecca Black

A brave mother has revisited the spot where her son was killed in a road crash one year ago.

Sarah Hanna (33) is still recovering from her own injuries last year as the car devastated her morning walk to the school bus stop with several of her nine children.

The crash left her wheelchair bound, and a year on, even getting out of the car is a struggle. She relies on a crutch to walk and cannot stand for long.

Nevertheless, she was determined to be brave for her little boy Adam, so cruelly taken from her at just eight years of age.

Parents Sarah Hanna and Stephen Gilmour visit the scene where Adam Gilmour died in a road accident a year ago
Parents Sarah Hanna and Stephen Gilmour visit the scene where Adam Gilmour died in a road accident a year ago

Supported by her mother Marlene Hanna and partner Stephen Gilmour she hobbled across the Loughill Road, Co Antrim to the verge where her young son died.

For years she walked her brood to the entrance of Cloughmills village to meet the school bus - until November 11, 2014, when a routine walk turned to tragedy as a car ploughed into the family unit.

The impact was so hard that Sarah hit the windscreen and was carried several metres down the road. She and little Ryan were left unconscious amid a scene of devastation - schoolbags, shoes, coats and books strewn across the road, a baby buggy mangled, and little Bethany and Reese left terrified.

The eldest Kyle (10) tried frantically to rouse Adam and his mum before running to his granny's home nearby to raise the alarm.

Sarah confessed she can't remember the accident itself. The last thing she recalls is putting her children to bed the night before, and then waking up in the hospital the following day and being told her Adam had died.

After she was discharged, she moved to stay with her sister, before the family moved house, away from that tragic roadside.

"I knew I just couldn't face ever doing that walk again," she said.

"I just couldn't ever do it again, come over the hill and look at that part of the road again."

Sarah had been dreading going back to where she lost her son, but said she was determined to be brave for Adam

"I just wanted him to know we are thinking about him and love him," she said. "It has been therapeutic."

Over the last year, flowers and a teddy bear have adorned the sign post where Adam died.

Sarah brought fresh flowers yesterday, along with a new teddy wearing a Chelsea football strip in acknowledgement of Adam's love for the side.

Marlene brought his old Chelsea top along onher journey back on to the memorial.

"I thought it was getting a bit grubby so I took it down to give it a wash, but then I was worried all the signatures on it would get washed out too so I brought it back," she said.

The family supported each other as they took a moment in silence at the roadside. 

"I'd like a permanent memorial to be erected here in his memory," said Sarah. "Just something with his dates on it so that everyone remembers him."

Adam's absence has left not only a gaping hole in her heart, but also in the hearts of all her family, especially her other children.

"Sometimes, if I'm going down all their names and if by chance I didn't mention Adam, they'll immediately say, 'and Adam'," she said. Sarah paid tribute to the teachers at Adam's former school, Clough Primary, for remembering him in a special assembly yesterday morning.

"The school has been terrific, so supportive, particularly Mr White and Mrs Stewart," she said. "They brought in a lovely fresh flower arrangement to remember him."

So far, no one has been brought to justice for the crash, a fact which is only adding the family's grief.

An 18-year-old male was questioned and released on bail.

A spokesman for the PSNI said: "Nobody has been charged in connection with this RTC. A file has been forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service for direction."

The Gilmour children travel to school by taxi since the accident, but Sarah said she is facing further anguish after receiving correspondence from the education authority asking for medical evidence to justify continuing the service.

A spokeswoman for the authority said they cannot comment on individual cases.

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