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Greenvale victim's mum climbs mountain in charity fundraiser


Victim Lauren Bullock

Victim Lauren Bullock

Victim Lauren Bullock

The mother of one of the young victims of the Greenvale Hotel tragedy climbed Cuilcagh mountain's boardwalk trail yesterday in memory of her daughter and in an effort to raise money for charity.

Morgan Barnard (17), Lauren Bullock (17) and Connor Currie (16) died as hundreds of young people queued to get into the St Patrick's night disco at the Cookstown hotel last year.

Yesterday's 'Remembering Lauren' fundraiser was originally planned to take place on March 14, with 80 people taking part, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Twenty people climbed Cuilcagh mountain's 'Stairway to Heaven' walkway on the Fermanagh-Cavan border yesterday as £6,245 was raised for charities Angel Wishes and Children in Crossfire.

Writing on Facebook, Lauren's mother Mary said: "It seems like a long time since we planned our climb up Cuilcagh mountain in memory of Lauren and to help raise some money for charity.

"We chose Cuilcagh mountain especially because of the localised name it has received - Stairway to Heaven.

"However, Covid-19 soon changed our plans - Lauren's first anniversary Mass was postponed and so was the climb up Cuilcagh mountain.

"So now we have the chance to go ahead - albeit in a smaller way than we had intended - but we can now go ahead."

Those who took part walked the mountain at different stages to ensure social distancing, and Mary said that Lauren "walked with us in our hearts every step of the way".

"Thank you to all of you who have been so generous already in your donations in Lauren's memory and in your name we know that the work of these charities will ensure that good things continue to happen," she added.

Earlier this year, pupils at Lauren's school - St Patrick's College in Dungannon - opened a garden of hope in her memory, while Morgan's mother, Maria, took part in a skydive to mark what would have been her son's 18th birthday.

In May, police said they had reached a "significant milestone" in their investigation into the tragedy at the Greenvale Hotel after they submitted a file on the case to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

In the wake of the deaths the hotel's owner, Michael McElhatton, and another man were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. They were later released on bail.

Mr McElhatton was questioned a second time by detectives before being released pending a report to the PPS, while seven other men were also interviewed and files were being prepared for the PPS.

In a statement at the time, Detective Superintendent Richard Campbell said police had submitted a file to the PPS, which contained a "substantial" amount of information. "This is a significant milestone and over the coming months we will be submitting further material for inclusion," he said. "Our focus remains firmly on trying to find answers for the grieving families of the three teenagers and we remain in close, regular contact with them to provide updates on the progress of the investigation, including the submission of the interim file."

The Police Ombudsman was also probing the actions of seven officers at the scene on the night of the tragedy.

Following the teenagers' deaths, it emerged that four officers withdrew from the scene and did not intervene for 16 minutes. Of the seven police officers being investigated by the Police Ombudsman, five were being probed for misconduct in office, while the remaining two were being investigated for potential disciplinary matters.

Anyone wishing to donate can do so by visiting gofundme.com and searching for Remembering Lauren Bullock

Belfast Telegraph