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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Family mourns 'sweet little Odhran' (5) who died on Christmas Day

Odhran's death came as a shock to his wider family

Odhran Varney with his mum Nicole Gillen
Odhran Varney with his mum Nicole Gillen

Cate McCurry

A five-year-old boy who died on Christmas Day has been described as a "sweet boy" whose smile would light up the darkest of rooms.

Odhran Varney, from Glengormley, Co Antrim, died suddenly after becoming unwell on Sunday, December 25.

The youngster was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where he died.

Although Odhran had underlying health problems, his death came as a shock for the wider family.

His parents Nicole Gillen and Phil Varney are now preparing for his funeral on New Year's Eve.

The cause of his death has yet to be established. Odhran, who had Down's syndrome, was a pupil at Hill Croft School in Newtownabbey.

The school posted a tribute to the youngster on its Facebook account.

"The whole Hill Croft family mourns the sudden loss of this sweet boy," it said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his mum and dad and the whole family circle at this terrible time.

"Odhran was a pleasure to have in school.

"His smile would light up the darkest of rooms and would lift the spirits of anyone."

The post continued to say that the school was "proud" of the little five-year-old.

"We are all so proud of all his achievements.

"Words cannot express how much we will miss him."

His mum posted a poignant picture of herself with little Odhran smiling on her social media account.

Hundreds of people also posted heartfelt messages of sympathy.

One friend wrote: "So sorry to hear of your loss, Nicole.

"Thinking of you and your whole family at this time, my thoughts and prayers are with you all.

"Such a brilliant, beautiful boy."

His funeral will take place on Saturday at 9.30am in St Bernard's Church, followed by burial in Carnmoney Cemetery.

Belfast Telegraph

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