GRIEF GRIPS DROMORE AT DEATH OF JOSH (6)

GRIEF gripped Dromore on Friday as news emerged of the sudden death of a 6 year-old Thornhill Drive boy.

Outside of his devasted family, their friends and neighbours, little Josh Ogle's teachers and fellow pupils at Dromore Central Primary School were among the hardest hit by word of his death.

According to principal, Mr. Jim Cochrane, the school community was in a state of shock at the loss of another of its number a little over a year after the unexpected death, just days after his diagnosis with leukaemia, of 10 year-old Bailey Russell.

As The Leader went to press Josh's death was unexplained, police having earlier confirmed that enquiries to establish the circumstances of his death were ongoing.

Josh's aunt, Dawn Magennis, said, "He hadn't any illness; it happened very suddenly. Our family circle is absolutely devastated.

"He was a normal wee boy, a bit of a clown who loved to make people laugh. He was very close to his brother Dylan; you wouldn't see one without the other.

"He was a very bright boy and a real animal lover; he had a wee hamster, a dog and a rabbit."

Son of Elaine and Richard Ogle, Josh was younger brother to Dylan Ogle (8) and older brother to Taylor Baxter (3).

Hailed by his headmaster, Mr. Cochrane, as "a lovely little boy" and "a very gentle and innocent child", Josh was in Mrs. Moates P2 class at Dromore Central, where, as a pupil, his behaviour was "exemplary".

Mr. Cochrane, who as both principal and father urged every parent to remember how precious their children were and to enjoy every single minute possible with them, said, "Our hearts go out to Josh's mother, father and family circle.

"The whole school community is once again in a state of shock and disbelief, particularly Josh's Year One and Year Two teachers and the classroom assistants who have worked with him; they just can't believe it.

"Its heartbreaking for us all; we have been with Josh's family and we will do whatever we can to support them in the days ahead, but we also have a major responsibility to all the other children in the school to ensure that whatever their needs are in relation to this, and indeed the needs of parents, that we can be here for them.

Mr. Cochrane said the school would be in touch with all the relevant agencies who could support the school in supporting pupils and parents.

"Our primary aim," he said, "is to maintain normality as far as can for every young child in the school."

Also extending his sympathy to Josh's family, with whom he has regular contact through work, was Councillor Paul Rankin.

"It is a terrible shock for something like this to happen," he said. "There is very little you can say at a time like this, except to say that the family are in our thoughts and prayers."