Baby Ríoghnach leads way for Christmas jumper world record attempt

Seamus McKinney
08 December, 2016 01:00

BUNCRANA pier tragedy survivor Ríoghnach McGrotty proudly donned her little Christmas jumper yesterday to lead the way for a new world record attempt by the people of Derry.

The infant was presented with her “number one” entry as the city comes together to have the most people wearing Christmas jumpers in one place.

Ríoghnach and her mum Louise James were joined by the oldest person to sign up for the bid so far, 92-year-old Michael Murray.

In March this year, four-month-old Ríoghnach was the only survivor in a drowning tragedy which claimed the lives of her father Sean McGrotty (48), brothers Mark (12) and Evan (8), grandmother Ruth Daniels (58) and aunt Jodie-Lee Daniels (14).

The family died when their car slid off algae on Buncrana pier in Co Donegal into the waters of Lough Swilly.

In a last desperate action, Mr McGrotty passed Ríoghnach out the window to Donegal man Davitt Walsh who bravely swam out to the vehicle moments before it sank.

In the months since the tragedy, Ríoghnach’s mum Louise has become increasingly involved in fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy UK charity in memory of eight-year-old Evan, who suffered from the condition.

Muscular Dystrophy UK #Team#Evan is one of the charities which will benefit from the world record bid along with Children in Crossfire, the Foyle Hospice, Concern and Derry mayor Hilary McClintock’s charities.

The entire city of Derry is set to assume a decidedly cheesy festive appearance on Sunday week, according to the organisers.

“A number of statues around the city – including the famous 'Hands Across the Divide' at the end of Craigavon Bridge – will be decked out in Christmas jumpers and there are plans to feature Free Derry Wall and other areas as well,” a spokeswoman said.

The world record bid has grabbed the imagination of the Derry public and is attracting support from across the community with the Apprentice Boys joining the GAA, Derry City FC and Irish dancing schools among supporters.

The spokeswoman said organisers hope to shatter the current record, set at 3,473 by Kansas in the US.

“We haven’t actually put a figure on our target. We are, however, very optimistic and, thanks to a donation from the mayor, we have been able to order 10,000 Christmas hats,” she said.

Registration takes place from noon on Sunday December 18 at Waterloo Place with a minimum donation of £10 from every Christmas jumper wearer or at

There is a concessionary donation of £5 for children under 16, students, the unwaged and OAPs and a family rate of £25.

08 December, 2016 01:00 News