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Mum’s thanks for support ahead of marathon run in aid of New Life counselling service in

Sports mad Emmie honoured in race

By Claire Tennyson

A MOTHER who lost her five year old son in the most tragic of circumstances has said the support of the South Belfast community has helped her through some of her darkest days.

Paula Delaney from the Lisburn Road lost her little boy Emmet after he was knocked down and killed in the driveway of their family home. Devastatingly his grandmother was driving the car which hit the little boy.

However in an amazing show of strength and family solidarity Emmet’s mum Paula and grandmother Pauline Gorman will take part in next week’s Belfast marathon  to raise money for New Life Counselling. The charity have been helping both mother and daughter and Emmet’s brother Pearse through in the aftermath of his death.

“They come into the school once a week and help Pearse talk through issues to ensure he is happy and comfortable with what is going on,” explained Paula who praised the counselling service for kicking in so efficiently after the tragedy on December 19 last year. Their help has been invaluable for eight year old Pearse, she said, as it means someone independent from the situation can answer any questions he may have about why Emmet is no longer here.

“Counsellors came to the school the day after the accident and helped the teachers communicate to other children as to why Emmie would not be returning to school.”

Paula herself said she gets through her days now by breaking them up into manageable chunks.

“I just take it one hour at a time because if I was to look at it as a full 24 hour period it is too much.

“My friends and people in the area have been vital in getting me through this and I have been overwhelmed with the amount of support.”

The devastated mother talked about how caring Emmet was of others and how much he looked up to his big brother.

“He was so selfless and when he went to Creighton’s garage with his Granny after school she would ask him if he wanted a treat but he wouldn’t get one unless they could get something for his brother Pearse too.”

Still very raw from the unimaginable tragedy, Paula described her “little Emmie” as such a happy, bright and abundant little child.

“He loved school and loved sport and when the marathon was suggested that was the reason why I chose to do it.

“Emmie was also a massive Arsenal and Barcelona supporter. He knew all the players and he would always boo Wayne Rooney when he saw him on TV.”

Speaking of the massive gap left in their lives, Paula said: “ I just miss him so much. You never think when you get them up in the morning you won’t be putting them to bed that night.”

A box of condolence letters sits in the corner of the family’s living room consisting of 300 letters from people all over the country.

“I haven’t been able to bring myself to respond to them but I will at some point. They have helped me through such a dark period.”

One letter Paula received was from the mother of a child at St Bride’s who said she watched Emmie running across the playground the week before he died and she was blown away by the happiness he exuded.

Paula said: “In the letter this woman said she just stopped to enjoy the moment to watch this happy little boy with big blue eyes and curly blonde hair running around enjoying himself.

“It gives me great comfort that people have taken the time to put pen to paper and express their heartfelt sympathy.”

Looking forward to the marathon, Paula said it has been a welcome distraction in what has been “any parent’s worst nightmare.

“The day of the marathon will be huge and very emotional. I would generally be very organised and so doing all of this has helped me through the difficult days.

“When I went to the marathon office to register everyone who was taking part the organisers were shocked at my spreadsheets and files of everyone’s details.”

New Life Counselling, based in North Belfast, is a charity committed to supporting the emotional health and wellbeing needs of their clients through counseling and therapeutic services.

To donate to Paula’s chosen charity and support her in the marathon you can visit her Just Giving page at


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