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"This could have happened to anybody" - Locals raise €90,000 for bereaved family of slipway tragedy

Michelle Black and Martin McGranaghan have raised a huge sum between them in an effort to help in any way they can.

24/3/2016. Buncrana Drownings. Two women look out Two women look out across Lough Swilly in County Donegal, on the morning of the Buncrana funerals Eamonn Farrell Eamonn Farrell

Updated 12.30pm

OVER €90,000 HAS been raised by thoughtful locals for the family of the five people who lost their lives in last weekend’s horrific tragedy in Buncrana, Co Donegal.

Derry woman Louise Daniels lost her husband, mother, sister, and two sons, in the freak accident as their car slipped into the water on an algae-covered slipway in the north Donegal town.

Her infant daughter, Rioghnach-Ann, was saved by local man Davitt Walsh who swam to the family’s sinking car and returned to shore with the baby.

23/3/2016. Buncrana Drownings. The McGrotty and Da The McGrotty family, pictured weeks before tragedy

Now, locals Martin McGranaghan and Michelle Black have launched a crowdfunding campaign to help out in any way they can.

The two had never met each other before this week, but took it upon themselves to do whatever they could to aid the grieving family.

marty Facebook Facebook

And their funding campaigns have exceeded all expectations – raising about €90,000.

“I first knew something was happening when I heard the helicopters out, and then everyone was saying on Facebook that something had happened,” says Michelle, a Scottish native living in Buncrana.

The idea of setting up a funding page came to her “when I heard it was a family, when I heard there were children involved”.

“I was quite unsettled all evening, because this could happen to anybody,” she says.

Then Marty contacted me to say ‘well done’, and we realised we were doing the same thing from different angles.
At first I thought I’d take mine down because we were doing the same thing, but I’m glad I didn’t now. The response has been really overwhelming.

In Martin’s case, the initial aim for his campaign was to raise £5,000 (about €6,300). That figure is now a distant memory for the Derry native – his crowdfunding page has so far raised about 10 times its initial target, and currently stands at £49,300 (€62,000).

24/3/2016. Buncrana Drownings. Louise James (front left)carries the coffin of one of her two children, Evan and Mark from the Church of the Holy Family in Derry, afer the funeral service. Ms. James also lost her partner Sean McGrotty, her sister Jody-Lee Louise James carrying a coffin at the funeral of five members of her family who lost their lives in the tragedy last Sunday Eamonn Farrell Eamonn Farrell

Meanwhile, Michelle’s Justgiving campaign has raised an additional £16,400 (€21,000).

On top of this a fundraising dinner in New York this week raised another €10,000, bringing the money raised to over €90,000.

michelle Facebook Facebook

“No words to describe the generosity of each and everyone of you who has donated, completely overwhelmed you have done an amazing thing,” Martin said in a Facebook post.

“I’m stunned and pleased,” Michelle meanwhile said in a separate post on Facebook.

Money won’t change what happened but it will hopefully show Louise that everyone around the world is thinking about her and her beautiful baby girl.

Originally published 11.10am

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