TRIBUTES have been paid to a South Belfast pupil who "quietly brought a smile to many faces".

Malone Integrated College student Bailie Hardy (16) sadly passed away after a short illness. The school say they are “completely heartbroken at the loss of such an amazing young man".

In a statement, the school said: “It is with great sadness that we have to say goodbye to one of our cherished Malone family members. Bailie Hardy passed away on 21 March 2023, after a short illness. 

“We will always remember the big gentle giant who quietly brought a smile to many faces throughout the school. His friends talk about his kindness and his great sense of humour, who always had time to give and friendship to spare. All our love and support to his loving family. 

“Today we are completely heartbroken at the loss of such an amazing young man, he will be sorely missed. Rest in peace Bailie, fly high with angels.”

Glentoran Football Club also shared an emotional tribute to Bailie who they described as “a hero and an inspiration to us all".

“In a sad week for the Glentoran Family. Glentoran FC was very saddened to be informed of the passing of 16-year-old Glenman Bailie Hardy.

“Bailie grew up loving the Glens. When Bailie was 15, he fractured his leg playing football with his friends, After an MRI he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a primary bone cancer that meant that after several rounds of chemotherapy it was necessary for his right leg to be amputated above his knee.

“Bailie was an absolute warrior. He stayed positive and dealt with months and months of hospital stays and various treatments. He loved football more than anything, particularly his beloved Manchester City and Glentoran FC. He had several visits to both when he was in better health. He had a love for wrestling also."

Glentoran players Niall McGinn and Bobby Burns visited Bailie at home last Friday, played a few games of FIFA with him and gave him tickets for the upcoming Northern Ireland match against Finland, the club said.

“Sadly today Bailie lost his fight and passed away, leaving a devastated family behind. Our thoughts go to his parents Christine and Andrew, devoted siblings Ashleigh, Emma, Andrew and Nicole, grandparents Jim, Peter and Diana. Bailie was also a cherished uncle to Joss, Jax and Jayce.

“We at Glentoran FC will sadly miss him and his banter. Bailie is a hero and an inspiration to us all. He fought a great fight and went out on a high. He will always be remembered by us all as the boy who fought every day his courageous fight. Sleep tight, Bailie.”