James Brolly (photo credit: Eamonn McGinty)
The daughter of adopted Derry man James Brolly says that his “heart and soul” will live on through her family.
Close family of the late James Brolly, known to many locally as “Scotch Jimmy”, have written a letter of thanks to the Derry public for taking him into their hearts.
His daughter, Kelly Campbell, explained that short notice, finances and individual circumstances dictated that they couldn’t travel for his funeral but said she’d have “given anything” to see him one last time.
However, sadly they didn’t know where he was and hadn’t been in contact for many years.
She said: “As you can imagine grief isn't easy for anyone. I don't know what to say for the best or not. I just miss the dad I never got the chance to hug and tell him I love him no matter what.
“I am his daughter, I have his eyes and so does my daughter, his soul and heart lives on through us. The best thing he ever done was contributing to a life, who can carry on his blood lines.”
Photo: A youthful James Brolly
In a tribute to James, whose poems touched people's hearts following his death, his family have written their own poem to the city Jimmy called home in the latter years of his life.
To the people of Derry what can we say
For taking James Henry Brolly into your hearts
For the kindness & generosity on your fair city’s part
Thank you will never be enough for all that you've done
It’s comfort to know that he touched so many lives
That although he had his struggles & strife
The people of Derry treated him with humanity, compassion and love
And for his family who longed to know where he was
You have gone above & beyond
For some reason he thought there was no way back
But there was & always is love in our family’s hearts
The outpouring of Derry has eased the pain that we feel
In the saddest of times this will help us to heal
Knowing he had a family of friends he wouldn't have ever felt alone
and he found a place that became his home
Derry we are forever grateful, you'll always hold a special place in our hearts. Thank you for taking care of our Jim from his sister's Sarah & Maryann, daughter Kelly and their families.
Mr Brolly died at Altnagelvin Hospital on November 11 following a short illness.
A crowdfunding page set up by Mark H Durkan to raise money for his funeral achieved its £2,000 target within hours, which is testament to the generosity and kindness of locals.
At his Requiem Mass in St. Mary’s Church, Creggan, on November 14, Father Daniel McFaul described Mr Brolly as a “remarkable man” who was “in many ways the real Mayor of Derry, a very gifted poet who could hold a conversation with anybody young or old, rich or poor, homeless or settled.”
“Jimmy’s life and death was a stark reminder to all of us of the power of addiction and mental illness which affects people at all ages and all creeds and all walks of life.
“Jimmy was a good man who suffered the greater part of his life. His suffering is not his identity; his identity is a man who was loved and who loved, a man who tried his best, who believed in God.”
He added: "We can all learn so much from Jimmy and his life. About what is important and how to treat people, how to live."
Photo: Friends of James Brolly carry a slate heart surrounded with Scottish thistle at his funeral mass.
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