Funeral to take place today for teacher and GAA club founder who died suddenly in Ukraine
A FUNERAL service will be held today for a Co Down man who died suddenly in Ukraine last weekend.
English teacher Kevin Gregory died of heart failure last Saturday in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, where he lived with his partner.
Originally from Belfast before moving to the Leitrim area of Co Down, the 31-year-old former pupil of St Malachy's High School in Castlewellan had previously taught English in China before settling in Ukraine.
In China, the passionate GAA player and former member of Liatroim Fontenoys GAC helped found the Shunde Gaels club in the city of Foshan.
Following his death, his family were assisted in having his body returned to Ireland by the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust.
A fundraising campaign set up on the JustGiving website aimed to raise £7,500 to help with the costs of bringing Kevin home, and last night the total amount raised was close to £24,000.
It described Kevin as "the dearly beloved son of Kieran and Lisa and loving brother of Conor, Declan, Aodhán, Domhnall, Fionntán and Anton, beloved uncle of Saoirse and loving boyfriend of Noza".
The fundraising total was exceeded following a social media tribute to Kevin posted by the Shunde Gaels club, in which a spokesperson described how teammates "lost a brother" and urged "all our friends in the Asian GAA community" to support it.
"We would like to first send our condolences to Kevin's girlfriend Noza and his family at home who have been massive in supporting our club from day one," the spokesperson said.
"He was one of the founding members of the Gaels and a best friend to all of us. He left a lasting impression on everyone he met and the hole that has been left in our hearts will never be filled."
A funeral service is set to take place at noon today at St Mary's Church in Dechomet, Co Down, before a burial in the adjoining cemetery.