Tributes paid to Ballyclare teen Jim McKernon

Jim McKernon.
Jim McKernon.

Poignant tributes have been paid following the sudden death of a Ballyclare teenager.

Jim McKernon (17), who was a talented rugby player with his hometown club, passed away on Wednesday (August 7).

Ballyclare Rugby Club.

Ballyclare Rugby Club.

He was the son of Brian and Andrea and brother of Natasha and Rebecca.

The club was among those expressing sympathy to the family.

Alan Hamilton, Ballyclare RFC U18 head coach, said: “Jim was a key part of the rugby youth setup at Ballyclare Rugby Club. He played and represented the club at U14 to U18 level. He was part of a winning team at U16 and U18 levels in two out of three cup finals.

“In 2016/17 he won the club’s most improved player, awarded by the coaching staff.

“Jim was proud to wear the Ballyclare Rugby Club shirt and we remember his talent, courage and love for the game. He never stood back. He never gave ground.

“The youth team players and coaches are devastated by his passing. His team mates have many memories to look back on with Jim, they will be cherished forever. Sadly missed on and off the pitch, but never forgotten.

“On behalf of all the youth players and coaching staff we send our deepest sympathy and love to his father Brian and mum Andrea. Also thinking about his sisters Natasha and Rebecca.”

There were condolences too from Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.

A spokesperson for Ballyclare Fire Station said: “The members of Ballyclare Fire Station tender their deepest sympathy to their friend and colleague, Brian, his wife Andrea and family circle.”

Dozens of tributes have been paid to Jim on social media since his sudden passing.

A funeral service will take place at his Greenvale Terrace home on Saturday at 9.30am and afterwards to Ballyclare Cemetery.

Donations in lieu of flowers, if desired, to The Children’s Hospice, c/o S & J Irvine, 48 Rashee Road, Ballyclare.

A funeral notice said: “Will be sadly missed by the family circle. If love could have saved you, you never would have died.”

Police confirmed the death is not being treated as suspicious.

A PSNI spokesperson said: “Police received a report of the sudden death of a 17-year-old male in the Grange Drive area of Ballyclare yesterday morning (Wednesday).

“A post mortem examination has been carried out. The death is not being treated as suspicious.”