Newcastle West brightens up the sky for tragic Wiktor 

Balloons being released at the Square in Newcastle West during the vigil in memory of Wiktor Chojecki.

HUNDREDS of people attended a vigil in memory of Wiktor Chojecki, the 12-year old boy who died while driving a car that collided with a lorry in the early hours of Friday morning.

The vigil at the Square in Newcastle West saw dozens of coloured balloons released into the sky from the 300-strong crowd that gathered in the town’s main square.

Gardaí are still investigating circumstances which led to the boy being behind the wheel of his family’s Nissan Qashqai when it was involved in the fatal crash shortly before 2am.

Floral tributes marked the collision site, situated along a stretch of the N21, at Rineroe on the Limerick side of Adare, about 23km from the boy’s home.

Sean Lane, Principal at Scoil Mhuire agus Íde where Wiktor was a first year student, said he was very popular and friendly boy and this was reflected in the large turnout at the “Brighten Up The Sky for Wiktor Chojecki” vigil.

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A message on one of the balloons, which summed up how many would like to remember Wiktor, read: “For a little angel, dearly loved…”

Joe Aherne, from Athea, said he attended the vigil to “show solidarity with the family”.

Becoming emotional, Mr Aherne, 76, added: “It’s a sad occasion, it could happen to anybody, unfortunately a young child has died, and I have children and grandchildren, so it hits the spot”.

Local parent, Jennifer McGroarty, whose daughter was one of Wiktor’s classmates, said everyone in the town was “so sad”.

“My daughter would have been friends with Wiktor since the beginning of primary school, so we are all just absolutely shocked; we can’t believe it,” Ms McGroarty said.

“I think it is nice that he has a good turnout here today. You think if it can happen to his family, then it can happen to any of us. They are such lovely people, nice, hard-working people, and that’s why we are all in such shock”.

“The Polish community is a massive community here, so we all know someone that will know the family, and there is just a sadness, a heaviness among everyone, with a lump in our throats and in the pit of our stomach.”

“He was a lovely chap, a lovely little chap, even my youngest daughter said that whenever he talked to her he was kind.”

“The family are well known in town, very popular, and we are supporting his family, we just have to do the best to be here for them if they need it.”

Ms McGroarty added: “The school have been very good with giving us tools to deal with grief, which there will be, and when to expect it, it could be months down the line. We are just keeping an eye out and hoping to god that everyone will all be okay.”

Eileen Little, whose daughter was also one of Wiktor’s classmates, said: “We are shocked, it’s so sad. I think everybody has the same sentiment really, and that’s why everyone has shown up today in support of Wiktor’s mam and dad and his sister and all his family and friends.”

Wiktor, who is survived by his parents and his sister, will be laid to rest on this Thursday, at Calvary Cemetery, Newcastle West, following his funeral Mass at the local Church of the Immaculate Conception.