Family grateful to the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust for help at difficult time

Family grateful to the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust for help at difficult time

Tina Khan BSC (Hons) Horticulture and Dr Noel Colleran, College Principal (holding the cheque) and staff and students of Templemore College of Further Education

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This time last year the Meagher and Khan families were largely unaware, of the scale of the work which The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust engages in. Many people are not aware, unless, sadly, they have to contact the Trust, in traumatic situations.

The Trust was established by Colin and Eithne Bell, in Newry, in memory of their son Kevin, who died tragically in 2013, when he was hit by a car on holidays in New York City. Locals immediately got together to raise money to bring Kevin home. As there was significantly more raised in the end, than the family needed, the Bells decided to establish this Trust, to use the remaining monies, to assist other families, in a similar state of distress.

The process of repatriation can be a very difficult one, when people find themselves in the terrible situation, where a loved one has died abroad. When all they want is to get the body home to Ireland, grief, trauma and confusion with bureaucracy can make this process an overwhelming ordeal. It can also be very expensive when people may need time to organize their affairs or raise money for such an unexpected situation.

Tim Meagher and his wife Tina were in Spain on July 31st 2018, to celebrate Tim's birthday. On the morning of his birthday they left their hotel to wait for a car they had hired, to go for a drive in the local mountains. While sitting on the hotel wall waiting for the car to arrive, Tim said he did not feel well. Within seconds he collapsed in front of Tina and despite tremendous efforts to try and resuscitate and save his life, Tim died several days later, on August 11th, in hospital.

While they had holiday insurance, disputes about Tim being covered for repatriation arose (as can often happen with insurers). Tina was advised to contact the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust. They immediately agreed to assist to pay for Tim's body to be brought home to Ireland. The Foundation assist a staggering 500 (approx) people annually in Ireland who find themselves in such a traumatic situation.

While waiting for Tim's affairs, through probate, to resolve, to repay the Trust the costs they incurred, Tina wanted to also fund raise to give something extra back that will assist other families in similar circumstances.

In October last, at a Fund Raise for St. Mary's Church, in the Templemore Arms, Tina sold some of her own beautiful crochet designs and her sister-in-law Denise Meagher sold some of her home made artisan breads, to raise some money for the Trust. Sincere thanks to Valerie Young, organizer, for facilitating this for them on the evening.

In January Tina held a pop up shop at Templemore College for Further Education, where she teaches horticulture, and much thanks are due to the staff and others who supported the shop and to students of "Ceim Eile", who had a soccer tournament recently, and gave the proceeds to the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust.

Thanks also to all who made donations at Tim's funeral to the Trust.

Tina also mentions the importance of having a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), on your person, when travelling abroad. This card lets you get state healthcare within the EEA and Switzerland, at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. It would also cover you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for most routine maternity care. Most critically, in Tim's case, it allowed him to access first class hospital care in those dreadful days when Tina and the family waited in the hopes that he might survive. Tina says the care Tim received in Spain was outstanding. 'When the ambulance arrived at the side of the road, where Tim had collapsed', Tina says 'the first thing the paramedics looked for, from me, was this card. Fortunately we had applied for it and it had arrived just two days before we left for Spain'.

Tina, Darragh, the Meagher and Khan families want to again thank everyone for their expressions of sympathy, since Tim died last August, and for supporting the Kevin Bell Repatriation Fund. The Bell family do incredible work, in a voluntary capacity, to help people who find themselves in a bereaved and distressing situation, such as this.

For further information on the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust or to make a donation to them, please visit kevinbellrepatriationtrust.com

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