A local taxi driver fighting for his life after an accident on holiday in Spain has been surrounded by family and friends who have rushed to the country to be with him.

Popular Ardoyne man Davey Murphy is critically ill on a life support machine in hospital in Mallorca after taking ill in the pool at his resort.

His devastated family were initially told his life support machine may have had to be switched off. However they were offered hope yesterday (Wednesday) when signs of brain activity changed the decision and the brave father continues to fight for his life.

His partner Paula and friends have flown out to be at the Ardglen man’s side. The Flax Cabs driver, who lost his wife Deirdre to cancer around 15 years ago, was in Mallorca on a holiday to celebrate a friend’s 40th birthday.

It is understood the group were playing water polo in the swimming pool when they found their friend struggling in the water. It is thought he may have hit his head on the side of the pool.

He was rushed to hospital in an ambulance and is believed to have suffered a cardiac arrest en route. Initial speculation around Ardoyne that the father of five had passed away was proven to be untrue and the people of the area have been asked to keep him in their prayers.

Holy Cross parish priest Fr Gary Donegan has been receiving regular updates from family and friends who are holding a vigil at his bedside.

“The thoughts and prayers of the whole community are with Davey and his family," he said.

“”His best friend Ciaran Murray is out in Spain and has been ringing with updates on his condition. At the minute he is still critically ill on a life support machine. He said that everyone there is very grateful for the support and concern shown by the people of North Belfast.

“We can all just hope and pray that he makes a recovery. The people of North Belfast and Ardoyne in particular are all keeping him in our prayers.”

Fr Gary said Davey Murphy is a popular and well-known figure in Ardoyne whose mother Bridie used to work in the Holy Cross.

“His mother Bridie is a former member of staff in Holy Cross, they are a lovely family and will no doubt be pulling together at this time,” he said.

“We will be offering masses in Holy Cross that he recovers fully and comes home to Ardoyne