James McClean's clothing line pays tribute to Buncrana Pier victims
IRELAND international footballer James McClean has launched a new clothing line with a poignant tribute to the five Derry people who lost their lives in the Buncrana Pier tragedy woven into its logo.
The 27-year-old midfielder launched the ThanksJosh Clothing brand, which he has developed alongside Derry City FC player and friend Jordan Allan, in their new store in Derry city centre on Sunday.
With a strong sporting theme, the clothing line has a distinctive three heart ThanksJosh logo which has a poignant meaning.
McClean said the name ThanksJosh is in honour of Josh Daniels, who lost his mum, his sister, his brother-in-law and two young nephews in the tragedy.
The three-heart symbol was what his Derry City FC teammate, and co-owner of the brand, Jordan sent him every morning in an email message after the tragedy to let him know he was thinking of him.
"We decided to launch our first store in Derry because it's a place that means everything to me," he said.
"It's where I'm from, it's where I grew up. I have strong football connections here and my family are here. It is a city that means so much to my heart and I thought, why not start off at home first, hopefully it will take off here and we can expand elsewhere. I think it's important to starts off where you're from.
"We are going to employ people here. We are just starting off and have friends and family helping out. As the shop takes off we will hopefully employ more people.
"We will be thinking about people leaving school and looking for their first job. If we can help in that sense, then it will be a win win situation. Derry has been good to me and if I can give back that's what I want to do."
The West Brom star has donated thousands of pounds to Derry families dealing with tragedy, including the family of two-year-old Ronan McGavigan knocked down and killed in the city in July or to little Darragh McCleary, the four-year-old Derry girl fighting cancer, to help pay for specialist treatment.
And in keeping with his generous nature, he has announced that for every purchase over £30, £5 will be donated to help the homeless in his home city this Christmas.
“I am in a position where I am fortunate enough to be able to give back," he said.