TRIBUTES have been paid to eight-year-old, Mark Lynn, who sadly lost his fight for life last week.
Mark passed away peacefully at Birmingham Children's Hospital last Friday (September 28).
Mark, a primary four pupil at Ballykeel Primary School, was born with complex congenital heart disease and underwent four open heart surgeries and numerous cardiac procedures since he was a baby.
In 2015 he was diagnosed with heart failure but that didn't stop him and his parents Donna and Geoff, who are well known for their fundraising efforts for the British Heart Foundation.
Mark officially opened the new British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland (BHF NI) at Ballymoney Street in January. He was joined by former Mayor Councillor Audrey Wales MBE to cut the ribbon at the new store.
At the opening Mark, said: “I know the BHF’s research helps me and other children who have heart problems and are in and out of hospital so I’m glad to help them back.”
Mark also became a Heart Warrior as he recently helped organise a ‘Wear Red’ day at his primary school which, along with other fundraising activity, contributed to a fantastic overall total of £1,175 for the British Heart Foundation NI.
News of Mark's passing was met with an outpouring of prayers and condolences from the local community.
Rev Martin McNeely of Ballykeel Presbyterian Church described Mark as a “profoundly unselfish” young man.
He said: “Mark participated in the kids club at Ballykeel Church. He was a much loved and very brave boy.
“Mark was a young man whose life will be recognised by giving, he was profoundly unselfish.”
Rev McNeely added that the community was “heartbroken” by his loss.
He added: “Mark also raised thousands of pounds for both the British Heart Foundation NI and the Clarke Clinic.”
Principal of Ballykeel Primary School, Mrs Sheeran said: “His courage, determination, and joy for life was an inspiration to all of us and he will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Lynn family members at this very difficult time.”
A book of condolence was opened in the school foyer on Monday morning for anyone who wishes to sign it or write a message.
The British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland team stated they were “heartbroken” to learn of the death of their “Heart Hero”.
In a statement the team said: “Mark battled congenital heart disease with a bravery and strength that inspired us all every day.
“We first met Mark, his mum and dad Donna and Geoff and their family last year when Mark was named Young Heart Hero at our awards in Belfast City Hall.
“We can’t think of a more deserving winner and after the event so many of the guests commented to us how well behaved Mark and his brother were during the long ceremony and how much of a credit they were to their parents.
“Even though he was battling his own condition Mark did everything he could to raise money for us to help other children born with a heart defect. From fun days in his school, coffee mornings and marathon runs there was nothing Mark and his family haven’t done to help us fund heart research. In February this year Mark was guest of honour and cut the ribbon on our new Ballymena shop.
“Mark was a wee character. We loved hearing Donna’s stories of everything he got up to and how much he loved fundraising and helping others. He leaves a lasting legacy that will stay with us forever. Rest in Peace Mark.”
Mark's funeral is anticipated to take place later in the week.