The family of three Co Armagh children whose parents died after a horror road collision have said they are “overwhelmed” after fundraising topped £400,000.
Almost seven thousand donations have been made to a Go Fund Me page set up just over a week ago.
The fundraising drive was launched after Patrick Grimley (40) died following a four-vehicle collision near Markethill on November 4.
His wife Ciera passed away in hospital a week later.
- Cross community support for Grimley family fundraising
- Over £200,000 raised for Grimley children who lost both parents in Co Armagh road accident
From Madden in Co Armagh, they were travelling home in a taxi from Dundalk where they had been celebrating Mr Grimley’s 40th birthday, when the collision took place.
The couple had three children, Tadhg (14), Mya (13) and Cadhla (11), who are being cared for by close relatives.
Their friend, neighbour, and mother-of-four, Ciara McElvanna (44), died in the Royal Victoria Hospital days after the collision from the injuries she sustained.
By Thursday afternoon the amount of cash raised was more than £402,000, including a £20,000 donation from Co Down based sportswear firm Playr-fit, which held a special warehouse sale last weekend.
Mr Grimley’s aunt by marriage, Lorraine Grimley, said her family has been surprised by the generosity shown.
“I don’t know how many times I have used the word overwhelming and blown away,” she said.
“That’s what we are. There are other donations coming in from other people that’s not going through the Go Fund Me.”
Ms Grimley revealed that a Trust Fund has now been set up and solicitors “are on board”.
Ms Grimley revealed that a further £10,000 anonymous donation was received overnight on Wednesday and added that all donations are equally important.
“As we said before, it’s not bringing the parents back but it’s making the future a wee bit easier, because they do have needs, everybody has needs, and a wee bit of security, that’s all we can do,” she said.
“I think as time goes on it gets harder realising it’s permanent, this is permanent situation.
“They are not coming back.”
“It is bittersweet, this money, wouldn’t it be lovely to be used for something nice, but it’s to rear three children.”
Ms Grimley said the three children have returned to school.
“They are brilliant children,” she said.
“It’s just a pity, they are great wee children, Christmas is coming and everything else, you know yourself, the time of year and you just see everybody else getting ready, it’s a very poignant time of year for loss.”
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.
Newry-based firm Playr-fit, which is owned by Cullaville native Kieran Quinn and his business partner, Lurgan man Steven Burns, raised more than £20,000 through a specially organised warehouse sale last weekend.
Mr Quinn, who is the current manager of Dromintee GAC, told how his staff worked last weekend and said all proceeds raised are being donated.
“There was people travelling from Tyrone to Newry, Meath to Newry, they were more donating, they weren’t coming to buy our gear as such, they were coming because of the good cause,” he said.
“They staff all mucked in at the weekend, they came in on their weekend off and they helped do it.
“A lot of them will be (from a) GAA background….it’s times like this we kind of hate each other on the field and can be competitive and all that but something like this happens, I think the GAA really comes alive and people just put their shoulder behind the wheel and help each other out.”