This story was kindly provided by Gareth McKibbin on behalf of Dundonald Glentoran Supporters Club. The work undertaken here by the Dundonald club is a source of pride to everyone at Glentoran FC, and the club is a credit to the entire Glentoran Family.
In summer 2020, Dundonald Glentoran Supporters Club suffered the loss of one of our founder members, Brian Rea, who sadly passed away in Tenerife.
Facing the dual prospect of strict COVID lockdowns and also bringing the body back home from a foreign country, Brian’s family and friends were able to seek assistance from the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, a charity set up to assist with body repatriation from overseas.
Dundonald GSC members are firmly in debt to Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust for their sterling work in these matters and wanted to make a small expression of our gratitude, thus when club meeting recommenced for 22/23 season, members voted unanimously to donate £1000 to the charity.
Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust was founded out of a family tragedy when, in June 2013, Kevin Bell died suddenly in New York. Following an outpouring of support from Kevin’s friends, family and colleagues, a significant amount of funds was raised to repatriate his remains back to Ireland. As a permanent legacy to Kevin, the Bell family decided to use the funds to establish a volunteer led charity to help other families who find themselves in a similar situation. Help comes in the form of financial support as well as advice and guidance on getting the remains of loved ones home as soon as possible.
I liaised with trustee and founder Colin Bell and suggested our early season trip there may be a good opportunity to meet together, make donation and share a bit of craic over the football on show.
7 Dundonald GSC members travelled down to meet with Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust volunteer trustees Damian Ruddy and Paddy Fegan, who were kind enough to take receipt of a cheque for £1000 on the pitch at half time. Chatting with the guys during the match, we found that in summer 2023 alone, KBRT has aided the repatriation of over 50 people back home to their loved ones, reaching as far as Australia and Columbia.
Dundonald GSC once again wishes to extend our eternal thanks to Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust for their service in bringing Brian home for burial in Northern Ireland. Thanks also to Newry City FC chairman Martin McLoughlin, H&S Officer Colly Johnston, and all the staff at the Showgrounds for kindly facilitating our visit and presentation. Whilst only one set of fans celebrated a win on the pitch, both sets of fans once again reinforced the shared goals of the Irish League footballing fraternity off the pitch.
Should any readers wish to make donations, or contact the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust for further information on their service, the website address is https://kbrtrust.com
Pictured L-R: Gareth McKibbin, John Todd, Geordie Todd, Damian Ruddy, Sam Todd, Paddy Fegan, Neil Cassidy, Freddie Mercer, Mark Coey