Morgan Barnard's mum does parachute jump in memory of son who died in Greenvale Hotel tragedy
THE mother of a teenager who died in the Greenvale Hotel tragedy has taken part in a skydive in memory of her son.
Maria Barnard did the skydive last week to mark what would have been her son Morgan Barnard's 18th birthday.
Morgan was one of three teenagers who died during a crush as they queued to get into a disco at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, on St Patrick's night last year.
The other two teenagers who lost their lives were Lauren Bullock (17) and 16-year-old Connor Currie.
The disaster caused widespread shock across Ireland.
More than a year on brave Maria took to the skies over Co Derry last Saturday to fulfil an ambition to mark the milestone, which would have taken place in February.
Several previous attempts to do the jump were postponed for reasons including bad weather and the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The mother-of-six raised £8,000 from the jump which will now be divided between Gaelscoil Aodha Rua in Dungannon and the Niamh Louise Foundation.
Both charities are close to Morgan's family as the teenager had a love of his native language and two of his little sisters currently attend the Gaelscoil.
The Niamh Louise Foundation was also chosen because of the support it has provided to young people who attended the Greenvale on the night of the tragedy.
In near perfect conditions Maria took the nerve-racking step in memory of her much loved son as his father James Bradley looked on.
“The plan was for me to jump out of the plane and be in the sky as close as I could be to Morgan,” his mother explained.
“It was a big relief to finally get it done.”
Maria believes her son would have approved.
“It was something that I felt Morgan would have been delighted for me to do and maybe he would have done it himself had he been here,” she said.
Having taken part in the first jump she even volunteered for a second go after a companion was forced to pull out for medical reasons.
The 39-year-old expressed her “enormous thanks” to everyone who donated to the fundraising.
Morgan's father James Bradley was brimming at pride Maria's achievement.
“This idea was hatched in the kitchen with her aunt Sheila,” he said.
“I could not be more proud - it was Maria's idea and how she succeeded in doing something not many people do.”