IT HAS been nine months since the tragic death of Shane O’Brien (35) in a car crash in South Africa, but the legacy he has left is as strong as ever.

This is evident in his home town of Belleek, where the Belleek Youth Trust made a donation to the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust last Thursday, October 7, in memory of Shane.

The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust is the only one of its kind in the world where they work to bring people home who have died abroad.

This was one of a number of donations made to the Trust from the local community.

Shane’s mother, Siobhan, explained how the Trust were in contact with the family immediately after Shane’s death.

“The UN handled all of Shane’s funeral arrangements to get him home, but the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust had been on to us from when the news first broke to see if they could do anything to help. I didn’t know much about it, but it is a really worthwhile charity. The trauma of losing somebody abroad makes it so much worse, but we were very fortunate.”

Speaking about the choice to give a donation in Shane’s memory, the Belleek Youth Trust said: “We are making a donation to the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust as a gesture towards ensuring that Shane’s exemplary humanitarian life is fondly remembered in our local community of Belleek-Mulleek, and that this gesture may bring some small comfort to his parents, Siobhan and Tommy.

“Shane O’Brien was a family-orientated young man with a deep bond and love for his parents, ‘Team O’Brien’.

“Shane’s interests extended far beyond the GAA and included humanitarianism, academia, poetry, travel, fun, adventure, a dedication to helping the underprivileged and those needing humanitarian aid, and a particular focus on the protection of refugees in places like South Africa.”

Siobhan said the donation from the Belleek Youth Trust, along with others in the local community, was a great comfort for herself and her husband, Tommy, and a good way of remembering Shane.

“It’s so great for Tommy and I to see people recognising Shane. He did so much, and he did so many good things that we only found out afterwards because he didn’t blow his own trumpet.

“We got a lovely thing from them [Belleek Youth Trust] that he was a great ambassador for the area, and a lovely piece about him and his humanitarian work.

“There have been so many things. It has been nine months now, and he just made such an impact on people.”

As well as this latest donation, Siobhan spoke of toy collections for refugees in Shane’s memory, as well as a personal letter sent from President Michael D. Higgins to her and Tommy after Shane’s death.