Pictured at the presentation of the proceeds of a recent Outdoor Country Music Festival to The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust were Aidan Higgins, Eithne Bell, Dolores Burke, Colin Bell and Tom Duffy

Moate family raises over €11,000 for Kevin Bell Trust

When Moate native Michael Burke passed away unexpectedly in Liverpool last February, his family had to call on the services of the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust (KBRT) to repatriate his body back to Ireland.

As a thank you for the wonderful service they received from the trust, the extended family of the late Michael Burke, who was only 43 years old at the time of his passing, organised a major fundraising event in Moate last month which raised over €11,000.

At an emotional gathering in Don’s Bar last week, the founders of the Kevin Bell Trust, Colin and Eithne Bell, accepted a cheque for €11,382.36 which will be used towards alleviating the financial hardship of bereaved families in repatriating the bodies of their loved ones back to Ireland after they have passed away abroad in tragic or sudden circumstances.

One of the organisers of the Outdoor Country Musical Festival in Don’s Bar on September 12 last, the late Michael Burke’s uncle, Aidan Higgins, said they were “blown away” by the amount of money raised and by the support of the local community in Moate and from those further afield.

“We got donations of prizes from everywhere,” he said “and while the Music Festival itself was a great success we also raised a lot of money from raffle cards that we pre-sold and from an auction on the day, and we also had a GoFundMe page.”

The top prize at the auction was an overnight stay and pamper package sponsored by the Sheraton Hotel in Athlone, and Aidan Higgins said the extended Burke, Duffy and Higgins families who organised the fundraiser were “absolutely overwhelmed” by the support they received.

“We had initially set a target of around €5,000, but we found so much goodwill out there for the Kevin Bell Trust that everybody we approached was willing to make a contribution.”

Aidan described the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust as “a wonderful charity” and says the money raised by the Moate fundraising event will “help a number of bereaved families in the future.”

He added: “Unfortunately, nobody ever thinks they will need to assistance of this charity, and we didn’t think we would need it either, but when Michael passed away in Liverpool we didn’t know where to turn to, and we are so grateful to have made contact with the amazing people in the Kevin Bell Trust who looked after absolutely everything.”

Poignantly, Michael Burke passed away on the day his beloved aunt Carmel (Duffy) from St Manchan’s Terrace in Moate was being buried, and just over a month after his beloved Dad, Sean, from Clara Road in Moate had also passed away.