Sunday 21 October 2018

Rising star Zena to sing for Aoife and Áine as charity marks ten years

Zena Donnelly, who is performing on the night.
Zena Donnelly, who is performing on the night.
The late Áine Kennedy.
The late Aoife Kennedy.

Fintan Lambe

A young girl from Dublin, who laid a flower at the grave during the funeral of Áine Kennedy seven years ago, will sing at a special concert in Gorey this weekend celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Aoife and Áine Kennedy Memorial Fund.

Fifteen-year-old Zena Donnelly has been performing from a young age. She sang with Whitney Houston on stage in Ireland when she was eight years old. She featured in The Voice Kids UK this year; was a Junior Eurovision winner in 2016; and has appeared in several movies including 'A Christmas Star' featuring Pierce Brosnan.

She was just eight years old when Áine Kennedy from Ballyellis, Carnew, died of culture negative sepsis, aged five-and-a-half, the same age as her sister Aoife was when she died in a road traffic accident in Carnew four years previously.

'At Áine's burial, probably the most touching thing I ever saw, even though we were struck by grief a second time, was as the little white casket was doing down, a little girl then only eight years old herself, stepped up to the graveside and lay a sunflower pot at the foot of the grave,' said their mother Caroline. 'It caught my eye and I stopped her going back to her mam, and asked her "Why a sunflower?" and she answered "She had a sunshine smile". This touched us forever, the generosity and thoughtfulness of a child.'

'This little child was Zena,' she added. 'Her mam and dad had become friends just after Aoife's death as we had fundraised together in Aoife's memory and their little boy's memory, Max. They lost Max to meningitis at ten-and-a-half months, so they knew our pain and the Baby Max Foundation was set up in his memory to save lives with vital medical equipment. We have remained close friends over the years, and now Zena, their beautiful talented daughter, is back to sing for both angels.'

The 'Night of Stars' in the Ashdown Park Hotel, Gorey, on Friday, November 10, at 8 p.m. will also feature a song written for Aoife and Áine by Charlie McGettigan, performed by Martin Lacey. Other acts include the Wolseley Singers, Paul Hennessy, The Navvies, Coláiste Bhríde Carnew orchestra, Michael Flood, Deirdre Masterson, Kelli Ann Masterson, Aileen Donohoe, Bobby Byrne, and Martin Lacey. Tickets available at the door. Proceeds go to fund an MRI scanner in Wexford General Hospital.

Wicklow People