Mother of drowned Dungannon child starts collection for refugee crisis

Ryan Espie drowned in 1999
Ryan Espie drowned in 1999

A Dungannon woman whose five-year-old son drowned, said images of refugee children washed up on beaches upset her so much she did “nothing but cry yesterday”.

Olivia Espie lost her son Ryan while on holiday in Lanzarote in 2000 - the little boy died after falling into a swimming pool.

But since she “promised Ryan she wouldn’t cry anymore” she has decided to do something to help those fleeing war torn countries like Syria and is collecting donations of £1 from anyone who wants to help.

Olivia said that when she has gathered enough money, it will all be handed over to a refugee charity.

“The images of the children drowned on the beach were extremely upsetting,” she told our reporter.

“They brought back so many memories for me I just couldn’t sleep last night tossing and turning.

“I know how that father feels - but he has lost a lot more than me,” she added. “I need to do something to help.”

“As a mother who lost her son I’m asking if each of you would donate £1 into my Pay Pal account so I can raise funds to help these poor people.

“I’ve never been able to do any kind of charity donations with drownings, so help me now with this,” she posted on her Facebook page.

If you would like to help Olivia raise funds for those seeking refuge in Europe you can do so through her Pay Pal account - or