A mother of a schoolboy who died violently in Limerick six months ago today, marked her son’s anniversary by organising a “fast walk” to raise funds for housing and addiction services charity NOVAS.
Sonia Aylmer’s 11-year old son Brooklyn Colbert was found dead in a house in Limerick on November 3rd after he had sustained multiple injuries.
A 26-year old man, known to the victim and his family, is currently before the courts charged with the boy’s murder.
Brooklyn and his mother were due to run together in the 10km Great Limerick Run today, which was postponed as part of the coronavirus lockdown restrictions to next October.
Ms Aylmer and a small group of friends and family took part in a short walk today raising nearly €3,000 for NOVAS.
The fundraising drive will continue into October when she plans to take part in the rescheduled Great Limerick Run.
NOVAS helped Ms Aylmer and her only son out of a brief period of homelessness shortly before Brooklyn’s death.
Ms Aylmer and Brooklyn’s grandmother Terry Colbert released 11 red balloons into the sky at the end of today’s walk, marking an emotional tribute to Brooklyn who they said was a “mad Liverpool fan”.
“I kept my promise to Brooklyn, I did the walk I said I was going to do. Myself and Brooklyn do it every year, so I cut the route short and went past his school, and at the end I left off 11 red balloons; ‘forever 11’ on them,” Ms Aylmer said after finishing the event.
I’m emotionally drained from it, it’s a bittersweet day. Today was about showing our love for him. It’s a very emotional day for us. I just wanted to do something to mark his anniversary.
NOVAS has also helped organise grief counselling for Ms Aylmer, who paid tribute to the group as well as her own family and her son’s father and his family.
“We nearly have €3,000 funds raised now, and Brooklyn would be delighted with that, that he has done something good. He would be really proud and I’m proud to make him proud,” she said.
Ms Colbert fought back tears as she described the pain of loosing her grandson so young: “I’m very emotional, I just miss him so much. He was everything to me, and we’ll never get over his loss.”
Brooklyn, a talented soccer player like his father Wayne, was “the apple of Terry’s eye”, explained Ms Aylmer.
“He always went to Terry with his trophies from school,” she added.
Brooklyn’s beloved pet dog “Buddy” also took part in today’s fundraising walk.
Ms Aylmer thanked all those who supported her along the route while observing social distancing measures.
“We will be doing the real Great Limerick Run in October, if it goes ahead. Brooklyn loved doing it. I wore his medal today from another year he did it.”
Julie McKenna, NOVAS, said: “We’re very thankful to Sonia. Today should have been her run with Brooklyn, and we were all geared up to do the run before the covid-19 lockdown, so and it was great to see people come out today and adhere to the social distancing and still be together.”
“It is very difficult for people in these times, that have suffered loss or bereavement to try to manage their lives under lockdown and be isolated,” Ms McKenna said.
Donations to Ms Aylmer’s fundraising drive for NOVAS can be made here