Giving help to families hurt by tragic events

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Giving help to families hurt by tragic events thumbnailRORY McIlroy with Kevin Bell. DEM3486

Colin Bell, one of the trustees of the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust says that the trust "seems to have tapped into a need."
The trust was set up following the tragic death of Colin's son, Kevin in a hit and run accident in New York last June. In setting up the trust, Colin, his family and the Newry community have created a lasting legacy in memory of the 26-year-old. The practical aim of the trust is to provide financial assistance to families repatriating loved ones back to Ireland who have died abroad in sudden or tragic circumstances. The trust, in its' short existence, has already been able to offer much needed help, as Colin explained: "A lot of people are aware of it and seem to think that it is a charity worth supporting. It was a charity that needed to be set up.
“I think we are up to 37 or 38 [families who have been assisted] now so we are going to be getting to the stage where we are going to be nearly stopping counting."
With the costs to families of bringing remains back to Ireland being as much as 5,000, it is clear that hardship can be caused to families already reeling from the shock of finding themselves in such awful circumstances. Colin outlined that being able to offer practical help is something that brings a great deal of solace to all those involved with the trust.
“It does of course, yes. It doesn't take the pain away about Kevin or it will not take Kevin back but [it is comforting] to know that good has come out of it," he said.
Colin also wished to publicly acknowledge the assistance and contribution of the local Newry community and as he spoke it was evident that this meant so much to him and his family.
“It is a Newry charity. It was a charity born out of the goodness of the people of Newry. I mean, the response to Kevin's death was incredible and we are proud that it is a charity that is Newry born and bred," he said.
Fundraising is key to the trust and Colin also outlined some of the events which have taken place recently and which are planned in the coming weeks.
“It has been really busy for fundraising this past couple of weeks," he said.
“There was a 60 bike static cycle in Cavan last weekend. They covered the distance from Perth to Cavan on the cycles - we took this fella home from Perth to Cavan. His name was Richard Keith and his family did the fund raising and raised an awful lot of money," he said.
“Tonight (Friday August 15) in Grant's bar in Mayobridge there is a Take Your Pick. Tomorrow night (Saturday August 16) on Achill Island there is a night for Jamsie Maloney who we also took home to Donegal.
“On Sunday August 24, Killeavy cycling club are doing a 60 km and a 110 km cycle. Also on the 24th in the Short Strand in Belfast there is a night. Colm O'Brien is doing the marathon in Budapest in October. He also did the Iron man in Athlone for us," he added.
On September 17, a close friend of Kevin, the former Down and now New York footballer will do a sky dive and has requested donations. An auction will also be held and some of the items included are a hat signed by Rory McElroy, a signed Collingwood jersey, signed John Duddy boxing gloves, a Manchester United jersey signed by Juan Mata and a signed Down jersey.
All the fund raising efforts are important so that the trust can continue to carry on its' incredible work, as Colin explained:
“It is growing now - with every person that we bring home the awareness is increased no matter what part of Ireland they are from. A lot of people know about it now and we have a lot of followers on our facebook and on our twitter pages. It is all about raising awareness," he said.
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