Donegal will say goodbye to a local hero on Thursday when Manus ‘Mandy’ Kelly is laid to rest.
Shock and sadness permeated through the county following the tragic accident which took the life of driver Manus Kelly at the Donegal International Rally on Sunday.
As a father of five, a rally champion, a businessman and a county councillor, he has touched many lives. Kind-hearted tributes poured in for the Glenswilly man in recent days to remember his best qualities, his sportsmanship and his kindness. Thousands more have expressed their deepest sympathies with his family and friends and all those affected.
One friend, Pete Rose from Letterkenny, has put his grief into writing. In this poem written for the Kelly family, he shares how Manus will always be in the hearts of his family, friends and fans:
The lights are Red, the flags are yellow
The sky is dark, the Clouds they billow.
The hay bales are gone, and banners are down,
A whole county shocked as we gather around.
There are no words, no gesture can heal,
The wounds that we have or the way that we feel
The loss is too much to ever be measured
The memories are all we have to be treasured.
Nobody could know you were going away,
People feel Robbed and had much more to say,
Taken too soon, is a phase that they use,
Emphasis placed on the best that they choose.
A Husband, a Son, a Brother, a Gent,
Respected by all everywhere that he went,
Soft spoken and kind as long as the Day,
Always made time, for all things that you’d Say.
The sense of Loss is enormously Deep,
A County, a Town joins together to Weep,
A Rally Champion to many, Husband & Father to 5
A Brother to 8, Keep his memory alive.
He’s the dew on the Grass at the first Rally Stage
He’s the spirit of the co-driver as they turn over that page.
He’s the breeze at Knockalla as they head around that turn, The sound of the tires as the diff spins & burns.
The lift of the car as they dive over the bridge,
The heart of the Rally Fan, looking over the hedge.
How can we help remember Manus this way,
We can tell all the stories and things that he’d say,
The way that he’d smile and things that he’s done,
Tell all that ask you, He was our No.1
Words: Pete Rose