Jake Bailey-Sloan: Tributes to young Portadown businessman ‘one of the kindest souls you could ever meet’
Tributes have flooded social media for young Portadown businessman, Jake Bailey-Sloan, who died after suffering critical injuries in an incident at the weekend.
Mr Bailey-Sloan, who was aged 23, died in hospital overnight. He has been described as ‘one of the kindest souls you could ever meet’.
He died after an incident in Portadown in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Jake was aged just 19 when he started his own business in Bleary near Portadown four years ago.
He had been living with his mother in South Africa but returned home to study engineering at Queen’s University in Belfast.
He couldn’t find anywhere local to play paintballing - a favourite sport when he was in South Africa - so he decided to turn his hobby into a business.
He converted the then disused Blackers Mill into an indoor combat games centre.
Staff and customers of The Mill have been sharing their shock and grief on social media as news of his tragic death emerged.
Independent Cllr Paul Berry said: “I am totally shocked and devastated to learn of the sad and untimely passing of Jake.
“I had the pleasure like so many of knowing him and he was such a really good guy who always looked out for others.
“He was caring, thoughtful and all round really good guy. I remember when he came to meet me over a coffee when he shared with me his vision for developing The Mill a few years ago and seeking help and advice on planning issues etc.
“He was bursting with energy and enthusiasm and the development was a real legacy to him.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the whole family circle at this tragic and sorrowful time.”
Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie MC, said: “I was saddened to hear of the death of Jake Bailey Sloan. Another young adult taken far too soon.
“My thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.
“Jake was far too young to have been taken from his family. I understand he was an enthusiastic paint baller and his passion for the sport turned him into a young entrepreneur who had establish a thriving business in Drumnacanvy doing what he loved most.
“I would ask anyone who was in the area at the time of this incident to please get in contact with PSNI, no matter how small or insignificant you think your information may seem you need to speak with police.”
Portadown Rugby Football Club said: “All at Portadown RFC were deeply saddened at the tragic news of one of our players, Jake Bailey-Sloan. All at PRFC would like to send our condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
John Medlow who runs River Bann Clean Up Portadown said: “I am in shock to hear of the passing of Jake David Bailey-Sloan.
“I first encountered Jake on one of my litterpicks in November last year when he turned up on what was a freezing winters morning in a pair of shorts and flip flops, carrying his paddleboard. While the rest of us were dressed for winter and still shivering, Jake was just taking it in his stride.
“His enthusiasm and positivity were contagious and we chatted about the river and how it was such an underused asset in the town. He was full of ambition and ideas beyond his years and we were taken aback when he mentioned his age. He wanted to give people an opportunity to get out onto the river and a number of months later his idea would become a reality.
“Through his business (The Mill), people were able to hire out kayaks and paddleboards on the Bann, in what was a first for the town.
“He was selfless - even to the point of standing barefooted in mud on a cold winters morning, to help me when I was struggling to lift a trolley out of the river.
“When I was unable to get the insurance renewed for the clean-up, Jake was the first person to contact me, with an offer to cover the insurance so I could still take people out. In return, he didn’t want anything. He just wanted to be able to help.
“Although I didn’t know Jake that well, his life and his qualities have left a lasting impact on many many people in this town and beyond.
“I can only offer my condolences to his family and friends and hope that time will heal the heartache that they are feeling now.”
Lagan Airsoft Club said: “Very sorry to hear this morning of the passing of Jake David Bailey-Sloan (owner of the Mill). I only met this young man on a few occasions but his impact on the world of airsoft in Northern Ireland was immense. Thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”
The Jungle in Moneymore said: “Today we woke to the heartbreaking news that Jake Bailey Sloan (Owner of The Mill) is no longer with us following an incident the weekend. Jake and The Mill were partners of ours delivering Airsoft at The Jungle.
“Jake was a bright light, a young gentleman and a truly admirable person. Our thoughts are with his family & all his colleagues at this devastating time.”
Toy Soldiers Airsoft Belfast said: “Sad news this morning from ‘The Mill’ in Portadown with the passing of owner Jake David Bailey-Sloan.
“Had the privilege of meeting him a few times while playing his site. Always a warm welcome and smile at the counter. He’ll be sadly missed by the airsoft community. Our condolences to his family on this tragic loss.”
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