Belfast Telegraph

Kevin Bell fund helps 42 families to bring bodies of loved ones home

By Donna Deeney

More than 40 families across Northern Ireland who had loved ones die abroad have been helped with repatriation costs from a fund set up in memory of a young Co Down man whose family faced the same trauma a year ago.

Kevin Bell (26) moved to New York to find work, but 10 months later he was knocked down and killed, leaving his family in Newry facing a bill of thousands of pounds to bring him home.

Thanks to a massive fundraising effort by people in the city these costs were not only met, but exceeded to the tune of £140,000.

This led to the family forming the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust so they could help alleviate the stress and grief of other families in a similar situation.

The latest family to benefit from the fund is the Healy family from Londonderry, whose brother Raymond died of a massive heart attack while on holiday in Alicante.

Travel insurance can cover the cost of repatriation after death, but some policies are limited or have it as an optional extra

Kevin's father Colin was contacted by Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey after he was told about a £6,000 bill the relatives were facing to bring Raymond back to Derry, and within five minutes Mr Bell lifted the financial burden from the Healy family.

Mr Healy's sister Olive told the Belfast Telegraph the family would be eternally grateful for the assistance they have been given.

She said: "We have never met Mr Bell and yet this stranger has allowed us to bring our brother home, so how do you even begin to say thank you for a gift like that?"

The Healys are the 42nd family to have benefited from the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust.

Anyone who would like to contribute to the trust can get more information at www.kevinbellrepatriationtrust.com.

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