Sunday 19 November 2017

Memorial walk marks pier tragedy anniversary

The slipway at Buncrana Pier. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
The slipway at Buncrana Pier. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

George Jackson

The mother who lost five members of her family in the Buncrana pier drowning tragedy yesterday marked the first anniversary of their deaths by holding a charity memorial walk in Derry.

Hundreds of people accompanied Louise James along the River Foyle promenade and across the Peace Bridge into Ebrington Square to raise funds to help the research of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Ms James's son Evan (8), who drowned with his brother Mark (12) and with their mother's partner Sean McGrotty (49), her mother Ruth Daniels (59) and Louise's sister Jodie Lee Daniels (14), was diagnosed with Duchenne at the age of three.

The only person to survive, Ms James and Mr McGrotty's then four-months-old daughter Rioghnach-Ann, was also at yesterday evening's charity walk.

She was rescued by Donegal man Davitt Walsh who pulled her from the family's Audi Q7 vehicle just seconds before it sank into Lough Swilly.

Ms James said yesterday that she hoped the proceeds from the charity memorial walk would raise money for the Evan McGrotty Research Fund which she set up to help search for a cure for muscular dystrophy.

"My youngest son Evan was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy when he was just aged three. He lived with the condition for the rest of his short life but never let it define him and never let it defeat him.

"The Buncrana tragedy was a devastating event in our lives but I hope to do something positive on its first anniversary and generate some support for the campaign to find a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

"Our family and friends have been raising funds for clinical research into the disease ever since Evan's diagnosis. It's too late to help Evan now but we can still help other boys."

Irish Independent

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