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Buncrana pier tragedy: More than £90k raised for family following huge support for fundraising appeals

'It would definitely give you a lot of faith in people, especially in time of need'

More than £90,000 has been raised for the family of five people who died in the Buncrana pier tragedy.

Sean McGrotty, 46 died along with his two sons Mark, 12, and Evan, eight, their grandmother Ruth Daniels, 57, and her 14-year-old daughter Jodie Lee Daniels when their SUV sank after sliding off a slipway last month.

Davitt Walsh (28) was praised after jumping into Lough Swilly, swimming out to the sinking car and saving four-month-old Rioghnach-Ann McGrotty after she was passed to him.

Her mother Louise has said the baby is her only reason to go on living, having lost her partner, two sons, her mother and sister.

Two public fundraising appeals were launched in a bid to help cover the funeral costs but quickly surpassed their humble targets following a huge outpouring of support - reaching a staggering total of £92,000.

One JustGiving page was launched by Marty McGranaghan from Londonderry and the other by Michelle Black from Buncrana.

Michelle’s appeal raised £20,000 and another £5,000 from a Credit Union account she opened in the town. While Marty’s appeal raised £67,222.

Marty (30) told the Belfast Telegraph that he is just glad he was able to do something.

"I'm completely shocked that it even went up that high. I thought to cover the funeral costs I could raise £5k online and then do sponsored walks and things like that to try and raise as much as I can.

"But within a couple of hours we had gone past that. In 24 hours we had gone over £20,000,  I just couldn't believe it.

"It just took off. I couldn't believe it, that night every time a donation came through my phone beeped and I had to put my phone on silent it was just non-stop."

Marty and Michelle hope to give the money to the family in the coming weeks.

Marty said the response had given him a renewed faith in people.

He said: "I used to think people were selfish but they are not.  Looking through the donations some have donated hundreds but some have donated one or two pounds, and you just know that that one or two pounds is all they can afford.

"They were just giving anything they could and it would definitely give you a lot of faith in people, especially in time of need."

Posting on her page Michelle said she was "overwhelmed" at the amount that had been raised.

She said: "I'm overwhelmed how generous everyone has been in helping me raise this money for Louise James and her family. Everyone's donations and message have been extremely touching and I want to thank every single person who donated to this cause."

Meanwhile Louise is set to take on the Belfast marathon along with the man who saved her baby daughter for charity.

Louise and Davitt will run part of the Belfast marathon alongside over 130 friends and members of the McGrotty and Daniels families in memory of the Buncrana victims.

They hope to raise money as part of #TeamEvan for the the Muscular Dystrophy Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund, a condition which the late eight-year-old suffered from.

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