A YOUNG Ballybunion woman, left heartbroken by the tragic death of her best friend's father on her 21st birthday, has donated the money she received in gifts to Ballybunion Sea and Cliff Rescue Service, who worked tirelessly to recover his body.
Caitrín Griffin had been due to celebrate her 21st birthday in Listowel on June 3, but cancelled when the devasting news broke that her best friend's father, popular baker John Lynch had disappeared. Mr Lynch had prepared food for her birthday bash that night, and had planned to celebrate Caitrín's big event with his family, who are close family friends.
Having postponed her birthday as a mark of respect to her best friend Shauna and her family, Caitrín decided to turn the rescheduled party into a fundraiser and this week she donated €1,120 to the charity.
Tragically, after a massive six-day search, the body of the 59-year-old was recovered from the River Feale, plunging the town of Listowel into utter shock and devastation. It later emerged that the father of two slipped into the river in bad weather while walking home from work.
"I've grown up knowing about the work the Sea and Cliff Rescue does but I suppose it wasn't until I saw first hand how truly amazing they are that I appreciated it all the more," she said.
"They were out at the crack of dawn and worked tirelessly all day every day until they found John and I can't praise them enough for the work they did.
"They are absolutely brilliant and that's why I decided to turn my party into a fundraiser."