There were tears of joy mixed with sadness today as the friends and family of late Buncrana man Kieran Henderson gathered at a special event to remember him.
Kieran, who passed away last year, was a founding member of the Amazing Grace Initiative on the Inishowen Peninsula.
His wife Marie and three children were joined by a huge crowd for a coffee-morning at Letterkenny’s CoLab Building to celebrate Kieran’s life.
Kieran was a proud member of the team at Druva CloudRanger and was hugely admired by all his colleagues and colleagues at the CoLab.
However, it was in a previous life that he first began an active supporter of the Amazing Grace Initiative.
Kieran had worked at the Tourism Office in Buncrana and recognised founding member Mike Mullins’ initiative to celebrate the time John Newtown who wrote the iconic hymn.
Newtown was a slave master whose boat shipwrecked on the shores of Lough Swilly only to receive a welcome by the local people whom he said saved his life.
He denounced his previous life, became a cleric and then wrote the hymn ‘Amazing Grace.’
Friends and family members of Kieran have continued his work with the Amazing Grace Initiative in his honour.
There are currently plans to carry out a feasibility study to build a bridge between the local park and the shorefront in Buncrana.
Although it is very early days yet, the plans will hopefully culminate in the construction of the Kieran Henderson Bridge.
Kieran is already remembered with a bench in his honour locally with his favourite quote engraved on it – “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
Kieran’s wife Marie said she was just overcome with the outpouring of goodness and generosity show towards Kieran’s memory.
“It was such a lovely morning and we will remember it forever,” she said.
Ruth Garvey-Williams of the Amazing Grace Initiative said the group will continue to honour Kieran and his dream of attracting more and more people to Buncrana through the initiative.
“Kieran was a very special man, a very modest man who did so much work for his area but who refused to take any credit.
“It’s great to see so many people here today remembering Kieran’s life and how much he did for Buncrana through the Amazing Grace Initiative. The sheer number of people here today reflects how loved Kieran was by his family and friends,” she said.
General Manager of Druva CloudRanger David Gildea thanked all those who came along and said Kieran was a very special member of staff who was deeply missed by all his colleagues.
A cheque for €1,000 was presented to the Amazing Grace Initiative by the company and a further €1,000 was raised during the coffee morning.
The money will go directly into the plans to have a Kieran Henderson Bridge in Buncrana someday so that Kieran’s memory and gentle life will be remembered by others for generations to come.