Sunday 30 April 2017

Watch: BBC pay tribute to Anthony Foley as family light final candles in memory of Axel

The family of Anthony Foley his wife Olive and her sons Tony (11) and Dan (8) and Anthony's Parents Brendan and Shiela with Fr. Richard Gibbons after a special mass at Knock Shrine
The family of Anthony Foley his wife Olive and her sons Tony (11) and Dan (8) and Anthony's Parents Brendan and Shiela with Fr. Richard Gibbons after a special mass at Knock Shrine

The BBC paid tribute to both Anthony Foley and Mark Farren during their Sports Personality of the Year awards.

Both Irishmen featured in a touching montage on last night's programme to the sound of 'We can be Heroes'.

The tribute to Foley came on the final day of a campaign organised by his 11-year-old son Tony called #8masses4no8, urging people to attend Sunday mass for the next eight weeks after his father's untimely passing.

Speaking after the concluding Mass in the #8masses4no8 campaign yesterday, Olive Foley said the engagement around the campaign "has reflected the kindness of people".

The final Mass in the campaign was celebrated at Knock Shrine by parish priest Fr Richard Gibbons.

The Mass saw crowds travel from the four provinces, with an estimated crowd of just short of 2,500 attending.

Olive, her sons Tony and Dan, Anthony's parents Brendan and Sheila, and sister Rosie all travelled from Killaloe and were joined by hundreds more from Co Clare. Speaking afterwards, Olive said the final Mass in Knock was an experience that will carry them through the tough days ahead.

She said: "We've had - and will continue to have for a long time - very difficult moments and days. But today was a good day for us and this campaign generally has been amazing. Tony came up with the idea and we all supported it on the grounds that it was so others could have their loved ones remembered alongside Anthony.

A Munster Rugby Jersey which was presented to Fr. Richard Gibbons
A Munster Rugby Jersey which was presented to Fr. Richard Gibbons

"We got such incredible support following what happened to Anthony that we just wanted others to come under that roof and feel the warmth.

"We had people contacting us from all over the world and today at Knock was no different. I must have met everyone in the basilica after Mass and many travelled for hours. Each and every one of them had a story to tell about a person close to them who also passed away."

She added: "We were just so privileged to have so many others join us in this journey and we will never, ever forget that. We offered today's Mass for all those who died and whose family or friends wanted remembered by this campaign."

On the Mass, Olive said: "It was incredible. There was such a sense of peace and compassion and Fr Richard's homily was amazing. It was so kind of him to invite us up today and to dedicate this Mass to the campaign. What we saw here again today reminded us of just how important our faith is and how it is carrying us through a very difficult time."

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