Monday 15 July 2019

'I have no words' - friends of tragic rally driver Manus Kelly pay touching tribute with car graphics

Photo: Paddy McLaughlin, Signz
Photo: Paddy McLaughlin, Signz
Photo: Paddy McLaughlin, Signz

Markus Krug

A final touching tribute has been paid to tragic rally driver Manus Kelly.

Father-of-five and newly-elected councillor Manus Kelly lost his life in a serious crash last Sunday.

Mr Kelly died following the accident at the Fanad Head loop on the final day of the three-day Donegal International Rally.

As Mr Kelly’s family and loved ones are still coming to terms with his untimely death, his friend Paddy McLaughlin paid tribute through his signage job.

Tributes: Manus ‘Mandy’ Kelly had been recently elected to Donegal County Council on his first foray into politics and was ‘widely respected’ by the rally community in Ireland. Photo: Philip FitzPatrick/Sportsfile
Tributes: Manus ‘Mandy’ Kelly had been recently elected to Donegal County Council on his first foray into politics and was ‘widely respected’ by the rally community in Ireland. Photo: Philip FitzPatrick/Sportsfile

A new tribute design was put on the famous Subaru that took Manus Kelly to many rally wins over the years before it was presented to his family on Tuesday.

Mr McLaughlin personally came up with the design that includes scenes of Mr Kelly’s rally career as well as his name, signature and a rest in piece slogan.

Photo: Paddy McLaughlin, Signz
Photo: Paddy McLaughlin, Signz

"Manus Kelly’s wife Bernie asked me to put a number one on the door, like when he won. That had become his signature thing over the last three years. She also wanted his name on the car," Mr McLaughlin of Donegal-based business Signz said.

"The whole thing was then between me and Declan Boyle of Boyle Motorsport. We got together and came up with what is on it now.

"I went with the colour scheme from his 2017 win. The rest is a picture collage of Manus where the sponsor logos would usually go. On the roof we placed a kind of mural in his honour."

Manus Kelly Car 2.jpg
Photo: Paddy McLaughlin, Signz

The team from Signz worked hard to finish the touching tribute to the late Donegal icon on time.

Photo: Paddy McLaughlin, Signz
Photo: Paddy McLaughlin, Signz

"We worked through the night. We got the car at eight on Monday and we presented it at 9am on Tuesday. We delivered it in person to the Kelly house.

"The kids all loved it. And Bernie walked around it and had a good look at it. She was very happy and touched with it and how it was put together," he said.

Manus Kelly Car 3.jpg
Photo: Paddy McLaughlin, Signz

"I just have no words. I can’t even say much about it. I can’t get my head around it. It is just so hard as the days go on. The shock is still as bad as it was on Sunday.

"It was incredible to have the two cars on the lawn outside of his house. One from his first big win and now this special one to pay tribute to Manus," said Mr McLaughlin.

Mr McLaughlin also wanted to thank the owners of both cars that had offered them up for this special gesture without hesitation.

Mr Kelly’s funeral will take place on Thursday morning for 12 noon Mass in St Columba's church Glenswilly followed by burial in Conwal Cemetery.

The family have requested family flowers only. They also wished for family time strictly on the morning of the funeral.

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