By Caoimhe Hegarty

The father of Kevin Bell, who was killed in a hit and run in New York city, has told members of a local pony club, that a donation of £10,600 will be used to ‘help the families who get that dreaded news.’

Colin Bell, who founded the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, along with his wife Eithne, following the tragic death of their 26 year-old son in 2013, made the comment on Sunday after receiving the generous sum from members of Desertmartin Pony Club following their Pony Ride Out event which was held on August 5.

Over the years, Desertmartin Pony Club, with the support of the Loughshore Pony Club, have raised in excess of £100,000 for charities and local causes.

This year, Desertmartin Pony club decided to lend its support to The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, after the charity stepped in to help bring home the body of Donaghmore woman, Rosaleen Donaghy.

Mrs Donaghy passed away while on holiday in Bulgaria two years ago.

Telling members how the Trust was established, Colin Bell said: “Four years ago my son Kevin was killed in a hit and run in New York.  When the people of Newry heard, they started to fundraise to help bring him home. A total of £150,000 was raised. When Kevin’s employers paid to bring him home, we still had this £150,000. About a fortnight after Kevin’s funeral another young fella died while abroad.  We contacted the family and offered to pay for his body to be taken home. That was the start of it,” said Mr Bell.

He continued: “It is now four years on since Kevin has died and we have brought over 300 loved ones home to their families but we can only do this because of the goodness of others. This £10,600 will be used to help the families that get that dreaded news that their loved ones have died abroad.

“I would like to say a special thanks to Desertmartin Pony Club, particularly Harry and Kathleen McCann, as well as members of the Loughshore Pony Club and everyone who helped out and made donations. This is an unbelievable amount and I cannot thank you all enough,” said Colin.

Echoing Colin’s comments, Harry McCann thanked all, who had contributed to the fundraiser’s success over the years.

“On behalf of Desertmartin Club, I would like to thank everyone for the support they have shown to the club over the years. This event started in 2004 and over the period of time, we have raised in excess of £100,000 for charity. It is the support of the local people that makes this all possible.

“It takes a lot of work behind the scenes for an event like this to be as successful as it is. I would like to express my gratitude to all who help out, to the stewards, to caterers, those who donated sponsorship.  Year on year the response we receive gives us the encouragement to keep going.”

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