Kevin Bell: Tragedy that created a lasting legacy

June 18, 2018

Five years on from the tragic and untimely death in New York of young Newry man Kevin Bell, his name continues to conjure feelings of pride and heartbreak through the work of the charity set up in his name.

The 26-year-old was killed in a suspected hit-and-run incident on June 16th 2013 as he made his way home to the Bronx area of New York following a night out with friends.  The tragedy stunned his family and many friends who, in the immediate aftermath, set about fundraising to have his remains repatriated for burial.  

Such was the outpouring of support, the proceeds raised exceeded all expectations and thus formed the basis of the inspirational charity set up in his name to help other families experiencing the same difficult circumstances of losing a loved one abroad.

By Saturday last – the fifth anniversary of Kevin’s death – The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust (KBRT), founded by his parents Collie and Eithne, has been responsible for returning the remains of 521 people who have died abroad.  The work of KBRT is now known worldwide and has become synonymous with compassion and dignity for hundreds of bereaved families across Ireland.  

It is a fitting tribute to the much-loved and popular young man that, due to the efforts of his heartbroken family and many friends, they have ensured Kevin’s death has not been in vain and in turn have helped countless other families through some of the worst periods of their lives.  Five years on and his legacy prevails.