Belfast Telegraph

Memory of Tyrone dad lives on as family raise over £84k for air ambulance and school

The late Barry McQuaid with his wife Edel and children Tommy, Tess and Sadie
The late Barry McQuaid with his wife Edel and children Tommy, Tess and Sadie
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

The wife of a man who tragically died in a building site accident last year has told how the support she received has helped her and her children cope with the loss.

Barry McQuaid (34) from Dromore, Co Tyrone, died following an incident in Ederney, Co Fermanagh in February 2018, leaving his wife Edel and three children, Tess (8), Tommy (5) and Sadie (2), without a husband and a father.

Earlier this month, Mr McQuaid's loved ones raised an incredible £84,970 in his memory for Tummery Primary School, which is attended by his children, and Air Ambulance NI, who treated him at the scene of his accident.

Organised by his wife, dad Noel and friend Katrina Henderson, 'A Night For Barry' was held in Mahon's Hotel, Irvinestown, with approximately 800 people in attendance.

With the main hall filled to capacity, a marquee was also set up to accommodate the huge crowd as family, friends and many work colleagues of Mr McQuaid's showed their support.

In what was an emotional night, Mrs McQuaid said it was important that it was a happy occasion to reflect her husband's outlook on life.

"When I spoke on the night I finished off by asking something from the crowd. We as a family will never forget Barry and I asked that they don't let him be forgotten either, to talk about him often, share their memories and just remember him for being the hardworking, big-hearted, generous person he was," she added. "That was our main aim of the night, for people to remember Barry and come together to celebrate him and all that he loved in life.

"It was emotional but we were very conscious that we didn't want it to be a sad night.

"We wanted it to be a happy occasion and to remember Barry in a happy and nice way to reflect how he was. There were sad parts to it but we didn't want that to be the theme for the night."

Looking back at the last 18 months since Mr McQuaid's passing, his wife stated that she and her children have been "very lucky" to have a great group of family and friends around them to help cope with their grief.

"We've been doing good and there are bad days, of course, but in general we have been doing good," said Mrs McQuaid.

"It's been the same for Barry's parents [Noel and Patricia]."

The huge sum raised was thanks to an auction and raffle, and generous donations from local companies Mr McQuaid had previously worked with, as well as donations on the door.

"Everyone was so generous to us and we couldn't have asked for the night to have gone any better than what it did," Mrs McQuaid said.

"We had spot prizes throughout the night and we got the children to draw the top prize.

"We really wanted the children to be involved in the night."

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