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Emotional day for daughter of road victim as she runs her own special mini-marathon

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Emma McCafferty with a picture of her late father, Eamon

Emma McCafferty with a picture of her late father, Eamon

Emma during the run

Emma during the run

On the shoulders of her friends after the event

On the shoulders of her friends after the event

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Emma McCafferty with a picture of her late father, Eamon

A Londonderry woman who lost her father in a road accident three months ago has taken part in her own mini-marathon after she had to pull out of an official one following the tragedy.

Eamon McCafferty (58) died after he was hit by a car as he walked on the Foreglen Road near Claudy on August 18.

In the weeks before his death his daughter Emma (32) had been training for the Waterside Half Marathon with her running club, Reach in Derry.

After the tragedy, Emma had to pull out of the event.

But her running mates decided to put on a race especially for her and last month they recreated the half-marathon experience, complete with finish line and medals for their team members.

“My daddy was knocked down and killed in August in Claudy,” she said.

“He was at a family party, a 50th birthday party, and he and mum left early to walk home to my aunt’s house, near Dungiven.

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“It was an awful shock for us. Our life fell apart. It is still very raw. My brother Eamon and I are just trying to be strong for my mum, Geraldine. She was there when it happened, so it has been awful for her. We miss him desperately every single day.

“My daddy was such a good man. If someone was in hospital, say, and they had no family, he’d have been up visiting them. That is the type of person he was.

“That’s why we just couldn’t understand why something like this could happen to someone so good. He just had the best heart. He would have done anything for anyone.”

Emma said that her world came crashing down around her after her father passed away.

But she said members of her running club rallied around her in support and picked her up from her lowest ebb in a very special, poignant way. “I was training for the Waterside half marathon,” she said.

“I was only with them for about six weeks before my dad was killed. Patsy, the main man from the club, came to the house after daddy died and said that the club would set up another marathon, just for me. I had to just let the other one go. After a few weeks I started running again to try and build myself back up. Patsy suggested October 13 for my marathon. Thirteen was my daddy’s lucky number, so it was special and it was fate. I worked to build my stamina and we aimed for that date.”

Emma said that the day — branded Emma’s Run — was a very special and emotional one.

“There were a lot of the people from the running club there on the day,” she said.

“People handed out water, there was a photographer out.

“My friend Kim got me a t-shirt made, with my daddy on it. It was like a proper half-marathon. It was really brilliant, such a good day. I was really emotional.

“My running friends just kept me going the whole way around the route, they were joking and laughing.

“Then at the finish line, they had set up a surprise with a proper finish line. I thought I was just going to run the route and that would be it.

“But they had banners up and they gave me a medal and a beautiful piece of crystal with Emma’s Run on it. I got flowers. I was in tears at that point. It was such a brilliant day.

“I know my daddy would have loved it. He had said that he was going to come and watch me when I had arranged to do the Waterside half marathon.

“I could feel him there the whole day along with me. I didn’t even feel like I was running, it felt like I was walking. He was pushing me on, definitely.

“I would like to thank everyone in the running club who came out on the day. They were so thoughtful and made the day so special for me.

“It meant the world to me. I hadn’t known them that long, but they all made so much effort. It was so nice.

“It’s times like that, that people’s characters come to the fore. When you are at rock bottom and you see people standing beside you, that’s a special thing.”

Police have put out a renewed appeal for information about the incident in the early hours of Saturday, August 18 which claimed her father’s life, and have asked anyone with dash cam footage of the collision to get in touch.

Constable Joanne Boyd said: “Mr Eamon McCafferty (58) was a pedestrian who was struck by a blue Hyundai i10 on the Foreglen Road around 2am that Saturday.

“We are appealing to the occupant(s) of a white-coloured Audi A4 which was travelling on the Foreglen Road from the direction of Dungiven towards Claudy between 1.55am and 2.10am to contact us, as we believe they may have seen Mr McCafferty or the blue Hyundai car prior to the collision.”

Emma also appealed for anyone with any information on the incident to come forward.

“Any information at all, any small detail, can help,” she said.

“If you were on the road that night and saw anything, please contact the police.”


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