Mother was ‘willing son to live’ in ambulance

The distraught mother of teen Andrew Clarke has revealed how she “willed him to live” as she rode with him in the ambulance to Tallaght Hospital.

Andrew, 16, the son of popular restaurant owners, Sallyanne and Derry Clarke, suffered severe brain injures when a car he was working under fell on him and crushed him in the garage at the family home.

The couple, who have owned and run the award-winning L’Ecrivain in Dublin for 23 years are now planning his funeral and trying to come to terms with the tragedy.

Sallyanne said: “I found him at about 1.40pm last Thursday. He was cold and unconscious by his car in the garage. He’d bought a VW Jetta and was very busy fixing it up. We did CPR on him in the ambulance and they managed to get a heartbeat. I was literally willing him to live all the time.

“Andrew was 6’4” and about 17 stone. But he was our baby boy. Once they got the heartbeat they moved him into the ICU in Tallaght and we thought he actually had a fighting chance. However, Andrew had severe brain damage. The doctors declared him brain dead last Monday afternoon.”

The devastated family, which includes his 22-year-old sister Sarah May, will bring his remains to their home at Crooksling in the Dublin mountains tomorrow. His body will remain there overnight before being taken to the chapel at Clongowes Wood College for a service at 6.30pm.

Funeral Mass will take place there on Saturday at 11am and he will be buried after that at Mount Jerome Cemetery in Harold’s Cross.

The family have appealed for privacy in the house.

Sallyanne and Derry last night paid tribute to their only son.

Sallyanne said: “He was a wonderful, kind, and very witty boy with a heart of gold. He was a larger-than-life and a thoroughly loveable rascal. He loved everyone and everyone loved him in return. He really loved Clongowes Wood College, where he boarded. We still saw him most Wednesdays and Saturdays, and always every Sunday. He also had contact everyday with at least one of us by phone or email.

“He helped us in the restaurant occasionally and all the team members there adored him. But his first love was cars. He had so much planned with his life. He had asked me to buy him an industrial heater and a sofa in the sales for ‘his’ garage because he spent so much time out there just tinkering away.”

Up to 30 of Andrew’s class mates visited the hospital last Friday alone to check on his condition. Sallyanne revealed: “We had to ask his pals to stop coming to the ICU as they were like us, so very distraught but so very young to have to try to deal with something like this.

“We had enjoyed a lovely Christmas together and we were going to go to Ashford Castle as usual for the New Year. He loved New Year’s Eve in particular. He had his bag half-packed for returning to school as he didn’t know how much time he would have between returning from Cong and flying to Birmingham to collect his trophy for 3rd place overall in the Irish Junior Ginetta Championships (under 18).”

Andrew was heavily involved in the Irish Junior Ginetta Championship and Junior Rallycross and Motor Sports Ireland. He was a well-known figure in Mondello Park, Kildare, which was close to his school.

In fact he was supposed to do his driving theory test last Friday in Naas at noon. “He couldn’t wait to get his licence on March 26th, which would have been his 17th birthday. He was also supposed to come into the restaurant on Thursday to do some errand for the staff.”

Sallyanne added: “We also want to say a big thank you to all those who helped us to get through this terrible time, especially to the nurses, consultants and staff at Tallaght Hospital.”

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