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Michaela Foundation to close, John McAreavey announces

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Tragedy: John and Michaela McAreavey at the Giant’s Causeway, in Antrim

Tragedy: John and Michaela McAreavey at the Giant’s Causeway, in Antrim

Tragedy: John and Michaela McAreavey at the Giant’s Causeway, in Antrim

The foundation set up in memory of murdered Co Tyrone woman Michaela McAreavey is to close, her husband has announced.

The 27-year-old was tragically killed while honeymooning in Mauritius in January 2011.

Her husband John McAreavey established the foundation, which runs the Michaela Foundation Girls Summer Camp and other initiatives for young people "to commemorate the values that Michaela held dear in her life".

In a statement on its website, Mr McAreavey, who chaired the foundation, said it is now time "to bring a close to this wonderful chapter in our lives".

He wrote: "When we began Michaela Foundation back in 2011, we wanted to commemorate the values that Michaela held dear in her life. It was clear that the simple way in which Michaela lived her life resonated with many people. Michaela was fun, confident and had an enriching relationship with God. She led a 'Life Without Limits'.

"We envisaged building a foundation that could promote these values and give young people across Ireland a platform, a community, a belonging which celebrated their uniqueness and helped them grow in the spirit of Michaela.

"In 10 years, we achieved an enormous amount. We hosted just under 120 summer camps throughout every province in Ireland and worked with 10,000 young people, promoting our values and giving them a platform to shine.

"We hosted Faith & Wellbeing Retreats in schools across Ulster, we hosted our Wings Awards, celebrating young people in their communities, and many, many other projects including launching a new video podcast in 2020. We set a Guinness World Record with our Marathon Match and even brought 20,000 people to Casement Park, Belfast on a cold November night back in 2012, quite the feat!"

Mr McAreavey said he was most proud to have inspired people but "after 10 years of this incredible work it is time to bring a close to this wonderful chapter in our lives".

"The activities of Michaela Foundation will cease from this year and our focus will shift to a new initiative, one which we hope will create a tangible and permanent memory to Michaela’s spirit and to the incredible spirit of Michaela Foundation.

"To the countless people who contributed and volunteered and who made these achievements possible, we will always be indebted to your generosity. We helped create something beautiful together which was borne from tragedy but blossomed into something so positive and impactful.

"It has been an honour for me personally to manage the four people who we employed during this time and on behalf of all the trustees, I wish to thank you for your efforts, talent, and attitude.

"The spirit of Michaela and Michaela Foundation will continue to live on, that I can be sure of."

Police in Mauritius have officially closed investigations into the murder of Michaela.

The daughter of former Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte had only been married for a short time before her trip to the island.

A new probe, which was announced last August found no new evidence to warrant a new trial or a retrial before a jury, the Mauritian director of public prosecutions (DPP) said in December.

News of the decision by the Mauritian commissioner of police to close the case came almost a decade after the murder of Michaela left people stunned.

She was found strangled in the bath of her hotel suite after returning alone to her room at the former Legends Hotel in Grand Gaube.

Two hotel workers, Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea, were charged with the murder but later acquitted.

A new investigation was launched following the verdicts, with no success.

In 2017 an elite taskforce was set up in Mauritius in a bid to bring those responsible for the killing to justice.

Mr McAreavey is now married to Tara Brennan and they welcomed their first child last October.

Last month the GAA player spoke at length for the first time about his grief following Michaela's murder.

Speaking to Brian Dowling on his podcast Death Becomes Him, the Co Down man said he would never use the term "moving on" when it comes to his late wife, and the trauma from her death leaves him worried that Tara will be "taken" from him.

Belfast Telegraph


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