News

Irish Times – Aug 2015

Irish Lives: Family helps bring home bodies of those who die abroad

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BBC – Sep 2015

Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust: NI charity has assisted in 100 repatriations

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Belfast Telegraph – Nov 2015

Colin Bell: ‘Your creed or colour doesn’t matter, we’ll help any family’

Joanne Sweeney talks to Colin Bell, who runs the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, which helps families bring back the remains of their loved ones who die overseas.

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UTV, Dec 2013 – Family raises £100k for repatriation

The family of a late GAA player who died in an accident in America have raised over £100k to help other families who find themselves in the same tragic situation.

Kevin Bell, from Newry, died in June in a hit-and-run accident in New York.

The 26-year-old dancing champion and talented Gaelic player was one of seven children, including a twin brother.

“Kevin had been out, it was a Saturday night and he returned home at about half three in the morning, he got out of a taxi and a white van came speeding and struck him, drove on and then he was hit by a second car but apparently he had been killed instantly,” his father Colin explained.

“We were fortunate or God was good in that we didn’t get a cold call from America. Kevin had been out to a friends’, Sheamie Toner, and Sheamie rang his parents and then Vincent and Caroline came up and broke the news to us.”

Eithne added: “They came to the door, and I just said ‘What’s happened to my Kevin?’ – I said ‘is it bad’ and he said ‘Eithne, it’s the very worst’.

“It was like a sledgehammer.”

Kevin had been living in the American city for almost a year before the tragic incident.

Describing him, Kevin’s mum told UTV: “If you met Kevin once, you remembered him, he just really had that personality, people loved him, he was full of craic.

“He would put himself up for a joke as well as putting everybody else up for one.”

Colin said he had many friends at home in Newry and had a busy social life in New York as well.

In dealing with the loss of Kevin, his family and the community have come together to create a lasting legacy in his memory.

The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust now helps other families bring their loved ones’ bodies home – already they have raised £120,000.

It can cost families £5,000 to bring someone’s body home from another country.

“Any time that I’ve heard that somebody else has been plunged into the same situation that we’re in, I just think ‘oh God, you are just starting on your journey’,” Eithne said.

“We’re six months down the line, please God we’ll learn how to cope with it, and it’s a comfort to think that we can help.”

Colin said they have offered help to as many as 10 local families who have lost a relative overseas.

He added: “We said at the time, Kevin wasn’t going to be the last, so the fund is there to help. We just want to help people.

TV3 Interview