Boy’s death was a ‘tragic accident’

An SDLP councillor paid tribute to a ‘happy-go-lucky’ 13-year-old Banbridge Academy boy who died at a railway line outside Lurgan on Wednesday evening.

Christopher McAlinden, from Magheralin, a second year pupil at the school was killed around 7.30pm when he was struck by a train in what has been described as a ‘truly tragic accident.’

It is the second tragedy to have hit the McAlinden family. 30 years ago his uncle John was killed in a motorbike accident on the Banbridge Road outside Lurgan.

Family friend and local councillor Declan McAlinden spoke of how the young boy’s death has shocked everyone.

“This is a truly devastating and shocking accident,” he said. “I know the family circle very well. They are all devastated and everyone is still trying very hard to come to terms with this shocking news.”

He said that Christopher’s father was very proud of his teenage son.

“His father was so proud of all that he had achieved throughout his 13 years,” he said. “I did not know him personally but from what I was told he was a very happy-go-lucky chap, who was well liked amongst his peers, worked hard at school and was just a truly nice fellow.

“Anyone who I have been speaking to expressed just what a pleasure it was to have known him even for those short number of years.

“This accident has happened at a time no doubt when Christopher would have been looking forward to his holidays and would have been leaving school for the summer in just a matter of days. I am sure it was a time when the family may have been making plans for holidays and then for this tragedy to happen which has turned his families lives upside down. It is just awful.”

His funeral took place on Sunday at St Patrick’s Church in Magheralin. He was later buried at Derrymacash in Lurgan.