Tributes and prayers have been offered nationwide for Emili Roman, the seven-year-old child who drowned at Fountainstown beach in Co Cork on Tuesday.
Emili, who was a twin, has been remembered as a “vibrant and joyful” child, who loved swimming. She would have celebrated her birthday today. Her family have announced that her Funeral Mass will take place this weekend.
The little girl was paddling with friends at the beach close to Crosshaven when she got into difficulty, and was swept away by a current just after 4:30pm on Tuesday. After a three-hour search, her body was found near the shore by a member of the public at around 7.45pm.
A death notice posted to RIP.ie remembers Emili as the darling daughter of Martha and Slawomir and dear sister of Inga and Jeremy. The family said the little girl will be sadly missed by her loving family, relatives and friends.
The family thanked all those who assisted at Fountainstown on Tuesday, while asking people to respect their privacy at this time.
The child’s funeral will take place on Saturday morning at the Church of Our Lady and St. John in Carrigaline.
Emili and her brother Jeremy attended Templebreedy National School in Crosshaven together as second-class students.
‘SHE HAD A BEAUTIFUL SMILE’
The school has paid tribute to the “gifted” child, with principal Doris Bryan saying the little girl “was greatly loved” by those at the school, and had a “kind, bubbly personality”.
“She had a beautiful smile,” Ms Bryan said. “She was greatly loved by everyone and was very popular with all her friends.
“She was also very artistic and a gifted young girl. On behalf of the school, I extend our deepest sympathies to Emily’s parents, Marta and Slawomir, her older sister Inga and her twin brother Jeremy.”
The school said it was doing its best to create “a safe space for all our school community to be together and to support each other as we remember Emily and come to terms with what has happened.”
Patron of Templebreedy National School, Bishop John Colton, said it was hard to imagine the grief the child’s loved ones are enduring.
“Most of us cannot begin to imagine the suffering that this family must now be going through,” he said. “We are all, however, in shock and devastated.
“A tragedy like this is having a traumatic effect also on this small parish school at the start of this new school year, and also the wider community.”
Bishop Doran extended his sympathies, while adding he was “also very conscious” of the role played by the first responders at the scene of the tragedy, some of whom he knows personally, along with those in the rescue services.
“I’m conscious of the impact a tragedy such as this has on each of them as individuals,” he said.
Emili’s family and friends are now coming together to raise funds for the family in the aftermath of the tragedy, with over €30,000 raised for the “vibrant and joyful” 7-year-old.
Family friend Beata O’Sullivan organised the fundraiser, which seeks to “give our beloved angel a proper farewell.” Donations have poured in for the initiative, with people across the country and from further afield leaving messages of condolences and encouragement.
“It is with heavy hearts that we come to you today, seeking your assistance in a time of immense sorrow. We are devastated to inform you of the tragic passing of Emily, a vibrant and joyful soul who left us far too soon. Emily was taken from us while doing something she loved – swimming – and her loss has left an irreplaceable void in our lives,” Ms O’Sullivan wrote.
“As we grapple with the incomprehensible pain of her absence, we are also faced with the daunting task of arranging a funeral that truly honours her memory. We are reaching out to you, our community, our friends, and our extended family, to request your support in ensuring that Emily’s funeral is a heartfelt celebration of her beautiful life.”
Ms O’Sullivan described the primary school child as “a ray of sunshine in our lives” – adding that she was “a compassionate friend, a loving daughter, and a cherished sister.”
“Her laughter was infectious, and her kindness knew no bounds. She touched the lives of everyone she met with her warm smile and boundless enthusiasm. Her love for swimming was just one facet of her vibrant personality, and it brought her immense joy,” she added.
The GoFundMe campaign will help cover the funeral expenses, including the cost of the service, burial, and a memorial to honour her memory, Ms O’Sullivan said.
“Your contributions will allow us to give Emili the dignified farewell she deserves and alleviate the financial burden on her grieving family during this incredibly difficult time.
“The funds will help with covering time off work for the parents and anything else that might arise,” she added.
“Any donation, no matter how small, will make a meaningful difference and will be greatly appreciated. In addition to financial support, your words of comfort and condolences have been a source of strength for us, and we are thankful for the love and compassion you have shown.”
Ms O’Sullivan thanked people for their outpouring of generosity, adding that Emili’s memory “will live on in our hearts.” Many said they wanted to support the family, and offered prayers and words of consolation.
“As parents, our hearts are broken for the family and friends of this beautiful little girl whose life was taken so suddenly….We cannot comprehend your loss and all we can do is offer our heartfelt condolences. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this sad, sad time,” one couple wrote, with many others expressing heartbreak at the news.
You can view the fundraiser for Emili’s family here.