Colin Bell receives award from prime minister

25th June 2019 - BBC News

Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust founder ‘delighted’ with award from Theresa May

A Newry man who founded a charity to support families whose loved ones died overseas has received an award from the prime minister.

Colin Bell set up the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, with his wife Eithne, after their son was killed in a suspected hit-and-run in New York.

The charity has now helped bring home the bodies of almost 500 people.

Prime Minister Theresa May said Mr Bell had “turned a personal tragedy into a force for good”.

‘Shining examples’

Kevin Bell was 26 when he was killed in the US in 2013.

More than £100,000 was raised to help bring him home, with his parents deciding to use the excess funds to set up the charity.

Mr Bell said he was “very surprised, pleased and grateful to the prime minister for recognising the work of the trust”.

“I am delighted also with the awareness which will be raised for the trust through this award and hope that it will encourage those people in England, Scotland and Wales who are in the process of setting up similar trusts based on The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust model,” he added. Image copyright KBRT Image caption Kevin Bell was 26 when he was killed in June 2013

In a personal letter to Mr Bell, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “By establishing The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust you have turned a personal tragedy into a force for good, assisting hundreds of families going through the traumatic experience of bringing the body of a loved one home.

“You should feel incredibly proud of the work you are doing in Kevin’s memory to support grieving families across Northern Ireland and Ireland.”

Sinn Féin Newry and Armagh MP Mickey Brady described the Bell family as “shining examples to us all”.

“It is truly inspirational to see the commitment of Colin and Eithne Bell in the essential work that they carry out through The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust,” he said.

“‘I commend them and the trust volunteers for this great work and for the practical and emotional support they provide for families at the time of greatest need.”

The Points of Light award “recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others”.

Launched in 2014, the prime minister makes daily announcements of winners.