Northern Ireland

Cross community support for Grimley family fundraising

A church that lost three members during the Troubles had raised cash for the three Grimley children
A church that lost three members during the Troubles had raised cash for the three Grimley children

Worshipers at a Protestant church where three members were shot dead 40 years ago this week have raised cash for a Catholic family whose parents died after a horror road collision earlier this month.

News of the big-hearted gesture emerged as a Go Fund Me page set up to raise cash for the three children topped almost £210,000 on Tuesday afternoon.

Three men Harold Browne, Victor Cunningham and David Wilson, all members of the Mountain Lodge Pentecostal Church in Darkley, Co Armagh, were shot dead on November 20, 1983.

The shocking attack was later claimed by the Catholic Reaction Force, a cover name for the INLA.

Despite carrying their own grief in recent days, members of the small church community have also dug deep to help the children of Patrick and Ciera Grimley.

Mr Grimley died after a four-vehicle collision near Markethill on November 4 while his wife Ciera passed away in hospital a week later.

The couple, from Madden in Co Armagh, had three children, Tadhg, Mya and Cadhla. 

It’s understood the siblings are currently being cared for by close relatives.

Read More: Over £150,000 raised for Grimley children who lost both parents in Co Armagh road accident

Ciera Grimley: Mother-of-three to be laid to rest beside husband after crash claimed both their lives

The husband and wife were travelling home in a taxi from Dundalk where they had been celebrating Mr Grimley’s 40th birthday, when the collision took place.

Their friend, neighbour, and mother-of-four, Ciara McElvanna (44), died in the Royal Victoria Hospital days after the accident from the injuries she sustained.

All three of those who died had strong links to the GAA, with Mr Grimley serving as secretary of Madden Raparees in Co Armagh while his brother Niall is an  Armagh senior footballer.

Ms McElvanna’s husband Kevin is a former All-Ireland winner with Orchard County.

Mr Grimley’s aunt by marriage, Lorraine Grimley, who launched a Go Fund Me page on Sunday, has revealed how members of the Darkley church contacted her at the weekend.

“They had their own massacre, they had a remembrance and they had a collection for the Grimleys at it, you know, whenever you think of what happened them,” she said.

“They had a collection for the Grimley family and them remembering their own loss at the same time.”

Ms Grimley said there has been strong cross community support for the devastated family.

“Madden is a close knit community, never mind the Gaelic, all the churches have been sending us money, donating and all the local schools and local groups we mightn’t be affiliated with, they have all come together and they have been amazing,” she said.

“This is cross community, this is the best cross community work you will ever see, that’s the way it has been.”

Ms Grimley said the entire community has pulled together since the tragedy took place.

“There are no barriers in Madden, you can play GAA or you can be in a pipe band and you can still be sitting together the evenings," she said.

“That’s just the way it is out here.”

Ms Grimley said she has been taken aback by the response to her fundraising appeal.

“People are amazing,” she said.

“It’s going to take it all.

“These children can’t be deprived of anything, especially love, which we can’t put a price on.

“But you can’t take love to the shop when you have to buy them new gutties… they still would have their needs and their own wee interests and we have to keep that stability and it’s going to take money.”

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