Family and friends have been left devastated after the passing of a nine-year-old schoolboy, after a brave battle with leukaemia.
Adam Watson, from Banbridge, had inspired a fundraising campaign under the umbrella of ‘B Positive’, with many on social media changing their profiles to raise awareness.
Adam, the son of David and Sara, was diagnosed in October 2019.
During lockdown, in 2021, he travelled to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for treatment.
It came after the family learned in December the year before that Adam, who had been in remission for 10 months, was once again battling the condition.
In May 2021, he returned home from hospital to recover from a cord transplant.
In June this year, his parents spoke at length to Minister of State Conor Burns MP, as he visited the family home to offer his support.
Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart also visited at that time and spoke with affection of Adam and offered her help and warm wishes to the family.
She said tonight: “Although I spoke to David and Sara last night and knew how ill Adam was it was a shock and devastating news that Adam is now ‘Safe in the arms of Jesus’.
“My heart this evening is aching for David and Sara and the family circle. I cannot imagine the pain they must feel at the loss of Adam. To lose a child must be the most difficult thing in the world to come to terms with and that journey for David and Sara has sadly begun.
“There are no words that can ever be spoken that will take away the hurt and pain but we just pray that they get the strength to get through the difficult times ahead.
“When I think of Adam I will always remember him as a wee warrior someone who fought his battle with great determination and inner strength. Defeating leukaemia once, he battled so hard when he was given the devestating news that it had returned. Sadly, it has just been too much to beat it again.
“I had the most humbling and memorable time with Adam recently when I introduced the Minister of State, Conor Burns to him. Conor was so taken by Adam and his quirky humour, his knowledge of local and American politics that he visited him again just yesterday.
“Adam, safe to say, has left such an impression and I know that he has and will continue to be mentioned in the corridors of power in both London and Washington as we seek to bring about real change for children and families who are fighting this dreaded disease.
“This is such a sad day. Adam’s Army and the B-Positive campaign that Adam inspired, and galvanised a whole community, has lost its little champion.”
It had been confirmed this afternoon (Wednesday) that the young schoolboy had sadly passed away.
Tributes were paid online, an outpouring at the loss of such a popular and brave young man.
Among them, Glenavon FC Academy said: “We deeply saddened to hear the news that young Adam Watson passed away earlier this afternoon.
“Adam and his family are the drivers behind the B Positive charity that the Academy have been supporting and promoting over the last few months.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with David, Sara and the wider family circle at this time.”
And Downshire Guiding Star Flute Band also paid tribute and offered condolences.
It said: “The band is devastated at the news of the death of Adam Watson today, after his long battle with cancer.
“Adam and his parents Davy and Sara are long time friends and big members of our band family, with Davy having been a bass drummer and outstanding member of the band’s committee for several years.
“The family has been central to all charity work we have done over the last decade and the dedication and effort they put into helping others is remarkable. The fact that during their hardest battle as a family they set up B Positive, a charity to help others in their position, is a measure of the kindness of the Watsons.
“In September 2021 during his illness, Adam became the Downshire Guiding Star’s first cymbal player.
“When the band was stuck and needed a bass drummer, Adam’s Dad Davy came to the rescue and Adam came alongside to ‘Give it big licks’ through Newcastle with a proud mum watching on.
“It made all of us at the Downshire Guiding Star proud that Adam then counted himself as a member of two bands, William Steritt Memorial Flute band and Downshire Guiding Star Flute Band which he followed along with his Mum and Dad from before he could walk.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with David and Sara and the entire wider family at this time. Adam’s story and the way the family faced the illness so bravely will be an inspiration to others who are in the same position.”
William Sterritt Memorial Flute Band also shared special memories and recollections of a brave young man who won everyone’s heart.
It said: “Today our band received the very sad news that our wee cymbal player Adam Watson passed away, he has gained his angel wings and God receives one fine little boy.
“Our members would extend our sincere sympathy to Adams mum and dad, David and Sara, and to the entire Watson and McAdam families.
“As a band we are heartbroken, we will miss you wee man telling us, ‘I don’t think you’re playing that properly’. We will miss you in our ranks.”
A friend of the family, in a beautiful tribute, shared a video of Adam with these words: “Sadly this afternoon Adam lost his biggest battle against cancer. Adam you are now free of any pain and are now in the playground of heaven. Adam was only with us for a short time but his legacy will live forever.”
A funeral notice said Adam passed away peacefully at his home in Pinley Green, Banbridge.
He was the loving and special son of David and Sara. His funeral service will take place on Friday, August 5 at 12.30pm in Seapatrick Parish Church followed by committal in Banbridge New Cemetery.
No Flowers Please. Donations if desired for Hiking for Little Heroes with all proceeds going to Cancer fund for children C/O Robert J. Bready, Funeral Director, 22 Newry Road, Rathfriland, BT34 5AL. (Cheques made payable to Robert Bready)
Will be Lovingly Remembered & Sadly missed by His Mummy, Daddy and the entire Family Circle.
Our deepest condolences are with Adam’s family and friends at this time.