Thursday 21 February 2019

'She shone a bit of light on our family' - parents of boy who died in river tragedy welcome new baby

From left: Jayden, Leanne, baby Ellianna, Amelia and Darrel Fleck in their home
From left: Jayden, Leanne, baby Ellianna, Amelia and Darrel Fleck in their home
Kayden Fleck (right) with his twin brother Jayden (left) Credit: PSNI/PA Wire
Kayden Fleck, who died after being swept away in a fast-flowing river in Northern Ireland Credit: PSNI/PA Wire

Lauren Harte

The mother of a five-year-old boy who drowned in a Co Antrim river has said the arrival of a baby daughter has "shone a wee bit of light" on the grieving family.

Less than a year after her son Kayden's tragic death, Leanne Fleck and her husband Darrel have welcomed the arrival of baby Ellianna.

Kayden was out playing with twin brother Jayden when he fell into the River Braid near the Ecos Centre in Ballymena on Saturday, February 10, 2018.

After a major search and rescue operation, Kayden was pulled from the water around 45 minutes later, four miles away near the Tullygarley Bridge.

Kayden Fleck, who died after being swept away in a fast-flowing river in Northern Ireland Credit: PSNI/PA Wire
Kayden Fleck, who died after being swept away in a fast-flowing river in Northern Ireland Credit: PSNI/PA Wire

He was airlifted to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children but sadly passed away.

As the family prepare to mark a year since Kayden's death, Leanne says her daughter, born seven weeks ago, has been a "wee blessing".

She only learned she was expecting another child less than a month after losing Kayden.

"We didn't know she was coming. But about three weeks after we lost Kayden, through all the pain and darkness of that time, we discovered I was pregnant," Leanne told the Daily Mirror.

"It was a huge shock. And more than anything, it was just so bittersweet because we were going through all the emotions of losing Kayden and trying to figure out what way our family was going to go from there. Then suddenly, she came along.

"She shone a wee bit of light on our family. We had people telling us it was too soon for us to cope after losing Kayden - but then we had others offering us support as well, and they said she was our wee blessing. And I think she was.

Kayden Fleck (right) with his twin brother Jayden (left) Credit: PSNI/PA Wire
Kayden Fleck (right) with his twin brother Jayden (left) Credit: PSNI/PA Wire

"I'm never going to forget Kayden. I'm never going to forget that day. And when the anniversary comes around I don't know how we're going to be, but at least now we have our baby to focus on.

"She's healthy, she's here, she's our wee girl and we will love and care for her like we did Kayden, and our other children," said Leanne, who also has a four-year-old daughter Amelia and son Daniel (15). Leanne says the family will ensure Ellianna grows up knowing all about Kayden.

"He's always going to be part of our family. Even though we can't see him and we can't hear him, he's going to live on in us, and in the other wee ones."

Belfast Telegraph

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