Northern Ireland news

North Belfast man Colin McGarry (48) who died in Benidorm balcony fall was 'most generous person'

Colin McGarry pictured with his fiancee, Gail McMillan
Marie Louise McConville

THE family of a north Belfast man, who died after falling from a hotel balcony in Spain, say they have been left "heartbroken" by the tragedy.

Colin McGarry (48) had been on a short break with friends in Benidorm on the Costa Brava when he died on Saturday night - just a day after arriving in the popular holiday resort.

Originally from Oldpark Avenue but living in the Skegoneill area of the Antrim Road, the scaffolder fell from a hotel balcony and died at the scene.

Mr McGarry's family and his fiancee, Gail McMillan, were informed of the tragedy in the early hours of Sunday.

The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust is now assisting the family with bringing Mr McGarry's remains back home, which is expected to take up to 10 days.

Speaking to The Irish News last night, Ms McMillan, who had been in a relationship with Mr McGarry for 26 years, said she had been left feeling "numb".

She said her partner, a former boxer with Sacred Heart Boxing Club, had been unsure whether to go on the trip which was booked in February.

However, as a massive Liverpool fan, he decided to go when it co-incided with the European Cup clash between Liverpool and Spurs.

Colin McGarry (back row, second from right) pictured with his family. including his mother Lyndia (CORR), his sisters, Lynette and Roslyn and brothers, Kieran, Dennis and Aaron

Ms McMillan last heard from her partner, who socialised at Cliftonville Social Club, when he messaged her when Liverpool won.

A few hours later she got the devastating news that her partner was dead.

"When (I was told) I just stood there in disbelief. Right through the early hours into Sunday, I was just numb, I couldn't take it in. Yesterday and today, it’s just getting harder now, because it is sinking in."

Paying tribute to her partner who she described as "the most generous person" she knew she said: "He has taken care of me all these years. Everybody who knew him, loved him. He was family-oriented. He took care of everybody. He was such a hard worker."

Lynette Brady said the loss of her brother had left their family "devastated".

"We lost our daddy four years ago and Colin was like the head of the family," she said.

"He just cared for everybody and looked out for everybody. We all looked up to him. He was the one you went to for advice, he was sensible. He was just our legend."

Mrs Brady said her brother's friends, who had been devastated by what had happened, were due back in Belfast today.

The McGarry family meanwhile have asked for any donations in memory of Colin to be made directly to the KBRT at kevinbellrepatriationtrust.com.

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