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Just why has US man given £100k to Belfast school?

By Rebecca Black

Published 30/06/2015

Cranmore Integrated Primary School principal William Doherty joins delighted pupils Noah Thompson and Cora Taggart in welcoming philanthropist Kevin Curley
Cranmore Integrated Primary School principal William Doherty joins delighted pupils Noah Thompson and Cora Taggart in welcoming philanthropist Kevin Curley

Meet the big-hearted Irish-American philanthropist who donated an incredible £100,000 towards a new playgroup centre for a Belfast integrated school.

Kevin Curley, who lives in Dallas, Texas, was inspired to help 12 years ago when he met representatives from the Integrated Education Fund in France.

They struck a chord with Mr Curley, who describes himself as a lifelong Catholic and married to a Protestant woman. They brought up their children attending both Catholic and Protestant services.

He agreed to work with the IEF and after 12 years his visit to the new £200,000 children's playgroup centre at Cranmore Integrated School was the culmination of these efforts.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph yesterday on an eight-day trip here, he said he was excited to see the new facilities.

"It has been a long 12-year relationship - today was great to see the centre finished," he said.

He described how his personal experiences had led to his passion for education.

"I had a mixed marriage, my wife was Protestant and I am a lifelong Catholic," he said.

"Our kids were brought up in both Churches, I go to the Protestant church and have no problem with that. It is all the one God.

"The best way for kids to learn is when they are young. Integrated education has such an important part to play in building a more reconciled and peaceful society where children can grow, learn and play together.

"It sounds so simple but the reality, I know, is quite different. This school is only here because of the determination of local parents.

"It has flourished and developed thanks to the vision of founding principal Helen Hamilton and the commitment of the current principal and staff."

Just why has US man given £100k to Belfast school?

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