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Shaun Kelly's hearse to have honour guard of riders

By Donna Deeney

Published 31/07/2015

The motorcycle cavalcade for the late Shaun Kelly makes its way across the Foyle Bridge
The motorcycle cavalcade for the late Shaun Kelly makes its way across the Foyle Bridge
Shaun Kelly

More than 100 bikers are to escort the hearse carrying one of Londonderry's best-loved bikers on his final journey.

The motorbiking fraternity turned out in force to pay tribute to their "brother" Shaun Kelly (45), whose sudden death from a heart attack last week sent shockwaves throughout Derry.

In the midst of their grief, Mr Kelly's family took the brave decision to donate his organs, saving the life of three others.

Hundreds of people attended the wake at Mr Kelly's home, offering sympathy to his wife Sharon and daughters Dearbhla, Caitlin and Caoimhe at their home in the city's Shantallow district.

In a poignant ceremony at Altnagelvin Hospital, the couple renewed their marriage vows before he sadly passed away, leaving the family with the tough decision to allow his organs to be transplanted.

"At the start I was being selfish, because I didn't want my husbands organ's being in someone else," said Mrs Kelly.

She added: "Then I realised I was being selfish, and after talking to the girls we were all in agreement and his legacy will live on through saving the lives of three people, and all I can say now is that I am so honoured that three other people get saved by my husband."

The family's generous gift of life to the organ beneficiaries reflects Shaun's own caring and giving nature during his life.

He was a member of the Exiles Rally Club and took part in numerous charity events through Bikers For Charity, raising thousands of pounds for good causes around the north west.

That same biker community has come together to say goodbye to Shaun (left) in their own special way.

A cavalcade of bikers that escorted the hearse carrying his coffin across the Foyle Bridge on Wednesday evening will swell in numbers to repeat the tribute as Shaun is taken on his final journey to St Brigid's Church, Carnhill.

Among them, fellow Exile RC member Mark Gunn, who said Shaun was their "brother" and was dearly loved by so many.

He added: "Shaun was the kind of person who would have given you the shirt off his back and he helped so many people during his short life, and even in death he was still helping people through his organ donation.

"The love for him from the whole biker community, not just the Exiles, has been demonstrated by the huge numbers who escorted him on his final journey.

"He was our brother, we were proud of him, and we want him to be proud of the send-off we give him."

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