THE tight-knit community of Portsoy community has closed ranks to rally round the family of an eight-year-old boy who died after being hit by a van while crossing the street last Thursday evening.
Iain Sturrock was killed in the accident, which involved a white Citroen Berlingo van, at the town’s Seafield Street shortly before 5pm.
A growing collection of touching floral tributes, soft toys and handwritten notes has been laid on the pavement near the local pharmacy, close to where the accident happened.
And an online petition has been launched to campaign for a pedestrian crossing to be installed on the town’s main street – part of the main A98 Fraserburgh to Fochabers road – in a bid to prevent a repetition of last Thursday’s tragedy.
In a statement, the boy’s parents, Johanna and James, said they were "absolutely devastated" by their loss.
They added: "Iain was a loving little boy who lived for swimming, karate and going to Cubs.
"We are in shock and absolutely devastated that he has been taken from us, and request privacy while we come to terms with what has happened."
As a mark of respect for the family, Portsoy 75 Club moved quickly on Friday morning to cancel the switching-on ceremony for the town’s Christmas lights, which was planned for Saturday night.
A club spokesman said: "In light of last Thursday night’s tragedy, our committee decided it would be appropriate to cancel the official switching on of the town’s Christmas lights.
"Our thoughts are with the family at this sad time."
Police have confirmed that enquiries into the incident are continuing. The road was closed well into the night while a full forensic accident investigation was carried out at the scene.
Sergeant Neil Morrison, of Aberdeenshire and Moray Division’s Road Policing Unit, said: "Sadly, I can confirm that an eight-year-old boy has died as a result of a collision on Seafield Street in Portsoy last Thursday evening.
"First and foremost, our thoughts are with the family and friends of the boy.
"We are asking anybody who may have witnessed the collision and has andy relevant information to contact Police Scotland on 101."
The family had only moved to the area recently, and the youngster was just settling into Portsoy Primary School.
Children and staff at the school were supported by local authority officers, colleagues and the local minister.
More than 500 people have signed the online petition to convince roads bosses that a pedestrian crossing is needed on the street.
Banff and District councillor Ian Gray said previous attempts to persuade the local authority had failed because the road did not meet criteria for traffic volume. He added that this may have to be reconsidered.
Fellow ward councillor Michael Roy said he would wholeheartedly support the introduction of a crossing at the street.