Belfast Telegraph

Michaela Harte McAreavey's legacy inspiring John as well as our youth

By John Mulgrew

Just seven months after the murder of his wife, Gaelic football star John McAreavey is putting all his efforts into a charity named in her honour.

Michaela McAreavey was killed while on honeymoon in Mauritius earlier this year.

The Michaela McAreavey Foundation has been set up to honour her life and help young people from all backgrounds in Northern Ireland.

The foundation's slogan is "Life without limits", and its goal is to promote healthy living for young people as well as instilling some of the ideas close to his late wife Michaela's heart.

Speaking during a golf event in aid of the foundation, Mr McAreavey said he was inspired by messages from the public.

He said: "We found there's been a lot of support.

"There were messages from thousands of people impressed with the way Michaela lived her life, so we thought it would be a good idea to try and capture those values and pass them to other people, so that some of the children could take up the life choices Michaela made."

He added that another objective was to provide grants for those going to university to pursue religious studies or Irish.

Michaela's father, Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte, said he hoped the foundation would "help people take another look at life, from a different perspective".

He said: "John has been the driving force behind this - he knew Michaela as well as anyone in this world and he knew what she stood for and the ideals she tried to live by."

Mr McAreavey said he wanted the charity to be inclusive and attract those from outside the GAA community.

"It's for everybody - one of the things we noticed was the cross-community support we got, so we want to open it up to everyone.

"We're still very early, from January to late August, with the foundation, but it's allowed a lot of people to come and show support."

Background

Michaela McAreavey (27) was murdered while on honeymoon in Mauritius in January this year. The daughter of Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte, she was found strangled in her hotel room. Two former workers at the hotel Michaela and husband John were staying in are to stand trial for her murder. Down GAA star John has established the Michaela McAreavey Foundation in his late wife's name.

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