Belfast Telegraph

Defibrillators for schools in memory of tragic teen pals killed in horrific crash

By Donna Deeney

Life-saving devices bought in memory of two friends killed in a horrific road accident have been presented to their former schools.

Maurice McCloughan and his childhood friend Killian Doherty, who were both aged 19, lost their lives in the two-vehicle crash. It happened on the A5 Doogary Road outside Omagh in Co Tyrone in December 2016.

Maurice’s father Kevin told the Belfast Telegraph that he will never get over the pain of losing his son but the support from the communities of Fintona and Drumquin, where the families live, has helped.

A football tournament was held on November 18 in the Fintona GAA grounds to raise funds.

Mr McCloughan explained: “The pain of losing Maurice is getting worse every day but our family has been helped so much by the support we have been shown by the local community.

“Last November, a seven-a-side tournament was held at Fintona GAA Grounds organised by Nealon Contracts where Maurice and Killian worked to raise money for the two defibrillators.

“We presented one to the primary school in Fintona where Maurice went and one to the primary school in Drumquin where Killian went.

“Knowing that these two devices are available to anyone in the community to use to help save a life is a comfort to us because we would never want anyone to go through our pain.

The presentation of the devices was just the latest in a series of fundraising events.

Mr McCloughan added: “When we were closing Maurice’s bank account we noticed he was donating money to Water Aid so we organised a night at the races and collected £22,500 in his memory. We gave £10,000 to Water Aid and divided the remainder between a number of other charities.

“This is our way of keeping Maurice’s memory alive both in the place where he was from but also in charities like Water Aid that were important to him.”

Keeping the memory of the two friends alive is equally important to Killian’s family. His mother Carmel said a run in his name organised last May will be repeated this year too.

She said: “It was so emotional for us to present the defibrillator to the two primary schools and the knowledge that they are there at all is a huge comfort to me. Hopefully they will never be needed.

“I took part in first aid training for the under-eight GAA team a couple of years ago, which included training in the use of defibrillators, so I know how vital they can be in an emergency situation.

“But I never imagined at that time the circumstance that would lead to us buying one for the school Killian went to.

“The boys were such good friends from the day they started St John’s College when they were just 11. They were inseparable in school, on the football pitch, on school trips, and they went everywhere together.

“They were so well liked and I know they will never been forgotten but the memorial runs in Killian’s name are our way keeping his name alive.”

Belfast Telegraph

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