Saturday 16 February 2019

'She was full of life, chat and cheer' - Brother Kevin says tragic Dawn Croke made lasting impression

The funeral of Dawn Croke (inset) took place in Dungloe in Donegal. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
The funeral of Dawn Croke (inset) took place in Dungloe in Donegal. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Fiona Dillon and Stephen Maguire

Brother Kevin Crowley has told how heroic Donegal teacher Dawn Croke made a lasting impression when she visited the Capuchin Centre with her students.

Dawn was with her students from the Rosses Community School, who visited the centre before Christmas to hand over a €1,000 donation which they had fundraised.

From Dungloe, Dawn (32) was struck by a pick-up truck in the schoolyard of St Crona’s National School last Thursday evening, and was buried on Monday.

Her last act was to push the six-year-old daughter of her partner Patrick McHugh away from the vehicle.

Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher and his wife Ann pictured at the funeral of Dawn Croke at Dungloe, Co. Donegal today.
PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN
Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher and his wife Ann pictured at the funeral of Dawn Croke at Dungloe, Co. Donegal today. PIC COLIN O’RIORDAN

Br Kevin said he had met Dawn and the students, and "it was a great occasion.".

"She was full of life and full of joy, and so were all the kids with her, and the other teachers’," Br Kevin recalled.

They had rung up in advance to organise the visit, having been visiting Deputy Pat "The Cope" Gallagher in the Dail first.

"He met them there, and then they came here and made a donation. It was a very pleasant occasion," he said.

Tragedy: Dawn Croke saved the life of her partner’s daughter but was killed when she had to step into the path of the 4x4
Tragedy: Dawn Croke saved the life of her partner’s daughter but was killed when she had to step into the path of the 4x4

Br Kevin said that he talked to Dawn about the work they do at the centre. "She was a lovely person, full of life, full of chat, full of cheer."

"We were very saddened when we heard of the news. Pat "The Cope" phoned us the morning after the accident to tell us," he said.

"Our prayers and wishes go to her family, and her little children and her partner and her parents," he said.

He paid tribute to the great work that had gone into the fundraising by the group, and the effort that was put in by the teachers, including Dawn, to bring the kids along to the centre for the visit that lasted about three quarters of an hour.

The teenagers were very dignified and respectful and were a great credit to their teachers, he said.

"We talked to them and told them about the plight of the homeless people, and the difficulties that they were experiencing and what we do here for them, and how we try to help them. "

Meanwhile, the current Mary from Dungloe has spoken of how she was inspired and privileged to have known Dawn.

Caroline O’Donnell was one of hundreds of people who crammed into St Crona’s Church to say a final farewell to the mum-of-two yesterday.

Ms O’Donnell, who is also from Dungloe, won the overall title of Mary from Dungloe last year, ten years after Dawn was chosen to be the Dungloe Mary.

Caroline posted on social media: "She was indeed one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met, and even more beautiful on the inside. I don’t think I’ve ever met Dawn and she hadn’t a smile on her face.

"She was taken far, far too soon. She was so humble and never boastful about how accomplished she was, or how truly amazing and inspiring she actually was.

"But she was amazing, inspiring and she accomplished so, so, much."

Growing up in Dungloe, Caroline revealed how she watched in awe as Dawn inspired so many young girls in so many ways.

Caroline marvelled at how Dawn was a lifeguard, a member of the local GAA team, a model, a teacher and how she even swam the English Channel.

She added that above all else, Dawn was cool.

"Being good friends with her brother, I’ve always noticed the way he talked about her, he adored the ground she walked on. Obviously the most amazing sister anyone could ask for.

"She was ridiculously cool! I always remember thinking that as her younger brother’s friend, she was always the coolest person in my eyes, and always treated me so kind, no matter how annoying I was."

And she revealed how Dawn had helped her to become the Mary from Dungloe winner.

"She was so, so, kind. She gave everything to every single thing she done and was involved in. I was chatting to Dawn after I was picked as the Dungloe Mary last year, exactly 10 years after she was the Dungloe Mary.

"She was never boastful, and so humble. Neither of us would’ve been "the girliest" of girls, we laughed, how the hell were we picked as Mary’s.

"But I honestly couldn’t think of a better person than Dawn to have ever represented our town. I feel so privileged and lucky to have known Dawn."

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