Belfast Telegraph

Family and friends get muddy in memory of crash victim Kathryn

Friends of Kathryn Jones taking part in the Mud Run in her memory
Friends of Kathryn Jones taking part in the Mud Run in her memory
Kathryn Jones
Friends of Kathryn Jones taking part in the Mud Run in her memory
Leona O'Neill

By Leona O'Neill

Family and friends of a young woman who died in a crash in Donegal have found a unique way to remember her - with laughs and hugs in the mud.

Kathryn Jones (27) was killed in 2015. Yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of the 27-year-old Londonderry woman's death.

Relatives and friends are planning to take to the mucky fields of Letterkenny in a special Kathryn's Mud Run to raise money for a charity that was close to her heart.

Kathryn died on June 19, 2015 as she travelled to her job at United Healthcare in Letterkenny. She had left the home of her boyfriend, Highland Radio DJ Paddy Friel, in Ballybofey shortly before 7am and was involved in a head-on collision with a lorry at Drumkeen on the main Letterkenny to Stranorlar Road. She was killed instantly.

Best friend Shauna O'Doherty said that everyone who knew and loved Kathryn were still heartbroken.

"Kathryn's death was a total shock," she said.

"I was talking to her on the phone the night before she died. I still have text messages on my phone she sent me that night.

"I was in work the next morning and I got a phone call to say she had been in an accident and had died.

"You just never expect to hear those words spoken about someone you love. I just screamed and screamed. I just can't get over it, even to this day. It is just so raw."

Kathryn was buried on Father's Day 2015. Her devastated dad James, mum Denise, brothers Stephen, Nicholas and Timothy and sisters Laura and Clare-Marie laid the youngest of the family to rest after a service in their local church, Holy Family in Ballymagroarty.

Shauna said the young woman touched so many lives.

"It has been devastating without her," she added. "People say that it gets easier, but it doesn't.

"There is always something to remind you of it, of her not being here. There are days I wake up and think she is still here and then it just hits me.

"She was an amazing person, the loveliest girl ever. There was always a big smile on her face. She was so nice and everyone who knew her loved her."

Shauna said she was inspired to set up a special event by her best friend's love of fun fundraising.

Kathryn had herself signed up for a charity mud run in Letterkenny before she died.

Her friends took part in it in her memory, and have done so in her memory ever since.

Shauna added: "Kathryn would have done anything for anybody and had raised a lot of money for charity herself.

"Her charity was always Foyle Search and Rescue and that is why we kept them as our main charity every year we have done this.

"Kathryn was signed up to do the mud run in July. So when she died, we thought we would do it in her name. We wanted to do something to remember her.

"It was only four weeks after she died so it was raw and emotional for everyone.

"I thought then, why don't we make this an annual event? So we did, we called it Kathryn's Mud Run and we have raised over £23,000 since she died.

"I'm so happy that Kathryn's family support us and come to the event.

"I know it's hard for them, but Kathryn's family come down and stay in camper vans. They bring soup, cakes, buns and tea for participants. They put in so much effort.

"Her mum and dad are so good. They come and spend the whole day, take photos and cheer everyone on. They hug everyone as they come across the finish line. It's a nice way for them and us to remember Kathryn and we love to have them there."

Shauna says she feels her best friend's spirit in the midst of the mud and laughs.

Kathryn's Mud Run will take place at Letterkenny's Extreme Adventures on August 3. For more information and to register, log on to Kathryn's Mud Run on Facebook.

Belfast Telegraph


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