'We couldn't be prouder', daughter of anti-smoking activist tells mourners
THE daughter of anti-smoking campaigner Gerry Collins told his funeral that they "all knew this day would come but there is no way you can prepare for such a big loss".
On the same day that a Lenten TV ad featuring him aired for the first time, hundreds gathered to console his family. "We couldn't be any prouder of him," his daughter Ciara said.
The 57-year-old former Dublin footballer, who smoked for 20 years before giving up 10 years ago, became the face of the HSE anti-smoking campaign before his untimely death this week.
There was laughter amid the tears at the Holy Rosary Church in Greystones, Co Wicklow, as close friend John Kelly said that Gerry had asked him personally to deliver his eulogy and had joked that he would love to have been there. The businessman, who beat throat cancer in 2008 but succumbed to lung cancer, had recorded a new series of anti-smoking ads, the first of which went ahead on TV last night at his family's request.
The HSE's Quitline Service moved to a new Freephone number 1800 201 203 from yesterday and there are a range of other supports on www.quit.ie.