Widower promotes charity foundation in memory of late wife

May 3, 2016

The charity foundation set up in memory of former Crossmaglen woman, Ann McGeeney, has given her husband and children a focus for their grief and a determination to carry on her community work, her husband, Jimmy Murray, has said.

Ann passed away from cancer in September 2014, aged just 52.  During her life, she was renowned for her community work, both in her native south Armagh and in the wider Warrenpoint area where she later made her home.

Several months after her untimely passing, Jimmy and the couple’s four children, Daisy, Holly, Ardal and James, established the Ann McGeeney Trust in her memory. Having consulted with the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland (CFNI), fundraising began and to date more than £70,000 has been raised.

The Trust is based on the principals by which Ann lived her life – a community worker helping those who needed it most – and money raised through it will help society’s most disadvantaged in areas such as cross-border community work and peace-building, Jimmy has said.

He revealed that it wasn’t until after his wife died that he began to realize just how far-reaching her community work really was.

“I knew Ann was a community worker, but she didn’t come home bragging about people she had helped or things she had done. I knew she worked with those who most needed help – women’s groups, the disadvantaged and the marginalised. In fact, one of her first jobs was in Crossmaglen working on inter-community development,” he said.

Having been contacted by many whose lives she touched, he added: “All these letters from people she had helped started to arrive and I realised what a remarkable job she had done. She had just worked away quietly behind the scenes making a real difference and impact on people’s lives.”

Speaking of the objectives of the Trust set up in her memory, Jimmy said: “We want to echo Ann’s work and are looking at the disadvantaged in society – single parents, new immigrants, cross- border community work and peace-building. These are all the areas Ann was passionate about,” Jimmy said.

“We want it to be about giving money, no matter how small, that will really transform lives and make a difference.”

A special advisory committee oversees the running of the Trust and determines the recipients of grants.

Jimmy says Ann’s death has also brought the family a lot closer and continuing to hear how she touched people’s lives has helped them cope.

“Letters keep coming in. I got one recently from a member of the Travelling community who talked about how much Ann inspired her and how she got into education and a job because of her. Things like that keep me going as I know she will live on because of her family and because of the Trust.

“I just want to stay strong and make her proud.”

For further details on the Ann McGeeney Trust, contact Jimmy Murray on 07776 152595 or Eamon Donaghy, Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, on 028 9024 5927.