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Family hail charity who helped bring Tiarnan back home

A GALBALLY man whose son died in a motorbike accident thousands of miles from home, has described how the charity which brought the 22-year-old home to his family, helped lessen the “emptiness and torment” felt in the immediate aftermath of his tragic loss.

Tiarnan Rafferty “loved and lived life to the best”, with a wide circle of friends both at home and in Australia – where he died on February 18 this year.

His father Damien, speaking to the UH ahead of a major fundraiser in Galbally next weekend, recalled how he became the “proudest man in the country” when his first child was born on September 30, 1995.

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Damien also described the earth-shattering moment he learned that Tiarnan, affectionately known as ‘Billy’, had died as the result of a crash in Sydney, but how the generosity of the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust provided comfort and support to his family at the worst moment in their lives.

To date, the charity set up by the family of Kevin Bell after he died in a suspected hit-and-run accident in New York in 2013, has helped almost 500 families hit by tragedy away from home.

Tiarnan’s family are hosting a 10km Walk/Run next Sunday, September 30, to say thanks to the charity which was a lifeline to them in their darkest hour.

“As Tiarnan grew up he had such a great personality and good friends,” Damien explained.

“He loved working at cars and made them his pride and joy. One day he took a notion that he would head to Australia to work. I didn’t think he would stay long but he loved it and again made many good friends there. On February 18, 2018 my whole world fell apart.

“When that phone call comes to tell you that your son has been killed in an accident 10,000 miles away, there is emptiness and torment. What do we do? How do we get him home? The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust was contacted and the support they provided in our darkest hour was astonishing. The care, thoughtfulness, consideration and assistance this organisation provides is second to none.”

Damien was full of praise for how the charity was able to bring Tiarnan home within five days and, such was the high esteem in which his son was held, 17 of Tiarnan’s friends – from all over Ireland – accompanied him on his journey back from Australia.

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Met by a large crowd of family and friends in Monaghan, Tiarnan’s remains made their way to Galbally.

“The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust deserve to get as much funds as possible as they help a family in their darkest hour. Unfortunately another family will get that terrible call, but one thing I know is that the Kevin Bell Trust will be there and the first to be called upon,” Damien added.

The Granny Rafferty’s to Galbally 10K Run/Walk gets underway next Sunday at 2pm with refreshments and a draw featuring some fantastic prizes taking place afterwards at the Community Centre. Full details of the event, including how to register online ahead of the day, and a Just Giving link, can be found on the Granny Rafferty’s to Galbally Facebook page.

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