HomeFootballGAA Social: 'This is Kevin’s legacy' - Colin Bell on repatriation trust

GAA Social: ‘This is Kevin’s legacy’ – Colin Bell on repatriation trust


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Bell set up the charity as he wanted to give something back after the kindness of the local community, who rallied round the family after Kevin’s death.

“When Kevin died Newry came round us like a blanket, it was unreal,” he admitted.

The community in Newry through a variety of fundraisers, helped raise in the region of £150,000 to bring Kevin back home.

However, after Kevin’s American employers agreed to pay to transport his body home, the Bell family decided to use the money to help other families who faced the same situation.

“About a week after Kevin’s funeral, we learnt about a young man from Carryduff who had been killed [Stephen Clifford] and we rang his parents and said we would bring him home and the same with a young man [Conor Brady] who died in Las Vegas who was from Sligo and it just went on,” he said.

“We knew the pain they were going through, and we had this money that wasn’t ours.”

The family of Ryan Doyle, a young man from Leitrim who was also killed in a hit-and-run accident in Australia, then gave Bell’s family in the region of £72,000, which was raised to bring their son home.

From there, Bell and the rest of the family “decided to make it Kevin’s legacy” to bring those killed abroad, back to Ireland.

It took a year and a half for the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust to become a registered charity in the north and south of Ireland, but they continued to help bring people home in the meantime.

It can cost several thousand pounds to repatriate bodies and, until the trust was established, families had to pay themselves because neither the UK or Irish governments cover the expense.

Now, the charity is the first port of call for many across the island of Ireland to help bring their loved one home, and they have repatriated people from countries across the globe.

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