KBRT receives ‘phenomenal’ £185k donation

January 7, 2019

The Newry based Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust has received a staggering £185,000 donation raised by the family and friends of a young Co. Tyrone man who died in Australia last year.

The incredible donation was handed over to the KBRT in Galbally Community Centre last week – the result of a mammoth fundraising effort by the family and friends of Tiarnan Rafferty, both in his local community and in New York and Australia. 

The renowned repatriation trust helped to bring Tiarnan’s body home to his grieving family after the 22 year old was tragically killed in a motorbike crash in Australia in February 2018. 

His friends and family embarked on a massive fundraising drive in the County Tyrone man’s memory with events in Galbally including a tractor run and a  10km walk/run and raffle.  Friends in New York also held a skydive while others in Australia ran a raffle and function in Tiarnan’s honour. 

Colin and Eithne Bell, founders of the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, with a cheque for £185,000, donated by the friends of family of Co.Tyrone man, Tiarnan Rafferty. (picture by Matt Bohill)

Representatives from several groups presented the huge cheque to Colin Bell and his wife Eithne, who started the repatriation charity after the tragic death of their son Kevin in a hit-and-run accident in New York in 2013.  The charity helps relatives bring home the remains of Irish people killed abroad and each year it provides assistance to dozens of devastated families. In August this year, Mr Bell received a Points of Light award from Prime Minister Theresa May in recognition of the repatriation charity’s work.

Mr Bell described the amount raised in memory of Mr Rafferty as “phenomenal” and recalled another similar donation three years ago when the family and friends of 22 year old County Cavan man, Martin Cadden handed over €207,000 raised in his memory, after he was killed in a road crash in New Zealand in 2015. 

“The money raised will go to help families in the future who will receive the same news as Tiarnan’s parents and Martin’s parents and so many other parents,” he said.

To date the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust has helped bring home the bodies of around 500 people.