Press Release via AS Written, October 2021
COUNTRY FUNDRAISING CONCERT A HUGE SUCCESS
September’s Outdoor Country Music concert which featured a line-up of Irish country’s star-names at DON’S BAR in Moate, has raised an incredible €11,382.36 for the KEVIN BELL REPATRIATION TRUST (KBRT). The presentation of the cheque took place recently with some of the event organisers – Aidan Higgins, Dolores Burke, and Tom Duffy – meeting with the late Kevin Bell’s parents, Colin and Eithne.
The concert took place on September 12th last, featuring performances from TR Dallas, Larissa Tormey, Olivia Douglas, Alex Roe, John Molloy, Shane Moore, and David Mills, and the iconic Seamus Moore. It came in response to tragedies suffered by three midland families – the Duffys, Higgins, and Burkes – each of whom had their own heartbreaking reasons to be thankful for the service provided by the KBRT earlier this year, as Tom Duffy explained in the run-up to the concert…
“My first cousin, Michael Burke, who lived on the Clara Road (out of Moate), died unexpectedly in Liverpool on February 17th this year. And by an untimely coincidence, that was the same day that his aunt Carmel, my own mother, was buried. To make matters even worse, though, that came just five weeks after Carmel’s brother Sean, who was Michael’s father, also died suddenly at his home on the Clara Road, on January 11th. As well as dealing with the shock of a wholly unexpected double-blow, the Burke family were faced with having to pay for two funerals in little over a month. Having heard about the KBRT, I contacted them and it was Colin Bell who answered the phone himself.”
The KBRT is named in memory of Colin Bell’s son, Kevin, a GAA player from Newry who was only twenty-six years old when he was killed in a hit-and-run traffic incident in New York in June 2013. Colin, and Kevin’s mother, Eithne, were not only faced with the horror of hearing that one of their twin boys had been mown down and left for dead, but they were also faced with the logistical nightmare of trying to organise the return of their beloved son’s body to Ireland, and the huge expense involved in making that happen. Overwhelmed by the generosity of their local community which raised an amount far greater than Kevin’s repatriation cost, Colin and Eithne founded the Trust in memory of Kevin, using the surplus monies there was to get the KBRT up and running. The aim of the KBRT is to support other families who suffer the hurt and hardships of losing a loved one abroad unexpectedly.
Since its formation in 2013, the KBRT has repatriated 876 loved ones to their families in Ireland, from countries as far away as Australia, Argentina, the United States, South Korea, Canada, Ecuador, Cambodia, India, and Uganda, as well as Britain.
“For the fantastic work of the KBRT to continue”, observed Mr. Duffy, “it depends on the goodwill of those who have received the help of the KBRT to put something back in the kitty. That’s why some of us got together to organise the festival at Don’s Bar.”
Mr Duffy continued, sharing the story of how help from the KBRT had been forthcoming as soon as contact was first made.
“On hearing how this tragic series of events had unfolded, Colin Bell immediately offered the assistance of the KBRT to help get Michael Burke’s remains home. From then on Colin undertook the task of organising Michael’s repatriation, with the very much hands-on help of Aidan Higgins, Michael’s uncle, here at home in Ireland. I have to say, Colin Bell was true to his word in every way, and Michael’s remains were returned a fortnight later, about the normal timescale for the arranging of a funeral in Britain. The Burke, Higgins and Duffy families here in Moate and Tubber, were so grateful to the KBRT, and everyone was delighted to be able to do this for them. And of course, we couldn’t have done it without all of the artists who performed on the day, and everyone who bought tickets and came along to enjoy the music. So we’re very, very thankful to everyone who played their part in helping such a worthy cause.”
Photo Attached (L-R)Aidan Higgins, Eithne Bell, Dolores Burke, Colin Bell, Tom Duffy