The family of a Lisburn man who died earlier this year while backpacking in Cambodia have thanked everyone who helped them raise more than £4,000 for the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust in his memory.
Martin Hale passed away on July 1 - the day before his 34th birthday - in a guest house in Phnom Penh. A post mortem examination found that he’d suffered a heart attack after taking drugs.
Mr Hale, a father-of-one, had no travel insurance, and the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust helped bring his body home to Northern Ireland.
“We were in turmoil when we discovered that it would cost thousands of pounds to bring his body home. We don’t have much financially and knowing it would cost a lot to bury him here we didn’t know what we were going to do,” explained Martin’s mother, Teresa Temple.
“Then we received salvation from The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust. They dealt with the authorities in Cambodia, arranged everything and paid for absolutely everything to bring our Martin home.
“We would never have been able to afford to bring Martin home ourselves. We would still be trying to raise the money now. We will never be able to repay the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust for what they did for us and how they helped us to be able to lay him to rest and give his wee daughter some peace, but we just wanted to do something to thank them for what they did,” she added.
Mr Hale’s family and friends recently organised a fundraising night at the The Hibs Club, Lisburn in aid of the Trust.
The event, which included a disco, auction and raffle, was attended by more than 100 people and raised £4,400.
Prizes donated for the fundraiser included signed Manchester United and Everton tops, Celtic match tickets and a pair of boxing gloves donated by former World Champion Brian Magee.
Mr Hale’s family said the generosity of people had been “unreal” and thanked all those who supported them, particularly Hibs Club owner Josie Ferris and DJ Colin McCard.
“There was a good crowd and it was a great wee night. We just want to thank anyone who donated in any way to the charity and the businesses and people who donated the prizes,” Teresa said.
For information about the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust log on to www.kevinbellrepatriationtrust.com