Tributes flood in for ‘unifier’ who bridged the divide

Unifier: Oscar Knox. Pic by Brian Little, Press Eye
Unifier: Oscar Knox. Pic by Brian Little, Press Eye
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The Belfast skyline lit up in memory of Oscar Knox on the night of Sunday, May 11.

The City Hall took on a blue and yellow hue, matching the colours of the bracelets sold to finance his fundraising campaign.

Meanwhile, hundreds of lanterns drifted gently into the night sky as the citizens of Newtownabbey, Belfast and beyond sought to honour the Glengormley boy.

And at Celtic Park, home of Oscar’s favourite football team, which he had led out, supporters held aloft banners which read: “Heart of a lion, courage of a champion, RIP Oscar Knox.” Fans also sang ‘You’ll never walk alone.’

At Stormont, politicians from across the political divide queued up to pay tribute to Oscar in a special ‘matter of the day.’

First Minister Peter Robinson stated: “For many of us when we go through life we admire those who show courage in the face of suffering, who smile through pain and discomfort, who can show that they don’t lie down when faced with adversity and we all admire that when we see it in some individual. But to see it in the life of a young child is particularly poignant.

“Everybody who met him was won over by his personality, by the mischievous innocence of the young boy. He had a way of making you smile. You couldn’t have been in his presence without smiling.

“Today we pass our condolences to Stephen, Leona and wee Izzy.”

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness added: “Oscar Knox was very small - only five years of age - but also profoundly capable of doing many great things.

“Oscar was an exceptionally gifted little boy, that he had the capabilities to bring people together from a wide spectrum of our society.

“ And if we’re to learn any lessons from that it is that we have to be more united, because Oscar was a unifier.

“I was very, very proud to know him. We will never forget him.”