Columnist Brian McDaid writes about a fundraiser inspired by a brave and beloved young Letterkenny woman, Bronwyn Coyle.
When two friends that hadn’t seen each other in years recently met at the same grave they knew that both of them were drawn to the same place by the loss of a great friend.
Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper “I love you”
Birds singing in the sycamore tree
Dream a little dream of me
These are the timeless lyrics on the gravestone of the late Bronwyn Coyle ( Known to her friends as B) who departed this life. She was only eighteen.
Five years on and her friends want to remember her, to celebrate her very short and beautiful life and the friend and person she was and the massive gap she left in all their lives.
They were all carefree young girls and boys at the Gaeltacht on Arranmore Island having a ball when Bronwyn first felt unwell. It was to be the start of three very difficult years of medical procedures, something that the young Letterkenny girl always believed she could beat. Bronwyn was in her TY year at Loreto in 2014 and put the bravest face on the difficult journey, and battled a transition in her life.
Bronach Gilroy, just one Bronwyn’s many school mates, takes up the story. Bronach now is on her way to a teaching career doing substitute teaching around Donegal. She called in on Tuesday evening to chat about the plans to do a 100km walk in memory of Bronwyn Coyle, unaware that she was sitting in Bronwyn’s great grandparents home at the foot of the town. A place where Bronwyn’s great aunt Bida Deeney also effectively known as Auntie B organised many’s a journey to pilgrimages to Knock or buses down to Ards friary and helps many on their journey through life. Her cure for a sprained ankle of a flax string was given to repair a hurt limb.
In memory of Bronwyn, on the fifth anniversary of her passing, her friends are drawn on their own pilgrimage organising this 100km proceeds of which will go towards the Irish Cancer Association, who have never forgot their dear friend.
To donate, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bronwyn-coyle
Bronach who is now nearly finished her third level education often thinks of Bronwyn and what she would have been doing or working at perhaps something to do with nutrition. She became very focused on her diet after she became ill and had a great belief that it would help her overcome her illness. Bronwyn also talked about becoming an anaesthetist, possibly spurred on by the many times Bronwyn went through the many operations in her life. She never was negative about he illness and was always the same Bronwyn – not afraid to cut to the chase when need arose and express what was on her mind if it needed to be said, about important things for a young girl growing up like style, choice of music and art, evening getting into the vinyl records and all the old music.
Bronwyn was born in 1997 the year her grandfather Hugo Coyle passed away. Hugo was known as “Nipper” to his friends as a young fellow growing up in Letterkenny. They never met but Bronwyn’s parents Liam and Linda always thought Bronwyn was very like Hugo in her ways.
Bronach talked about doing her Leaving Certificate the year B passed away: “I thought I had all of my crying done over the last few years but preparing for this walk small things that have slipped from our minds come back, and you’re caught off guard and before you know it you’re shedding a few tears.
“And in some ways it’s a good thing for all of B’s friends who can be back together chatting about some of the devilment that B got up to. That last photo that I took of us together was down in Rathmullan looking back now I can notice the change in B in them few years the last time I seen B was one evening she wanted to go out for a wee spin to look at rabbits that were out on our road in the late evening, B loved everything about nature and was a vegan for a good few years.
“I often think about B, always positive to the very end and never going to give up, remembering a fleeting glance that said so much the very last night we were out in the car together.”
Bronach explains: “We are walking for the month leading up to our beloved Bronwyn’s fifth anniversary on 8th July 2021. While always on our minds, we wanted to do something to consciously keep our dear B in mind, while spending some time together outside and sharing fond memories of her. Starting on Tuesday the 8th of June, we will be starting a 100km challenge, spending the time remembering Bronwyn, while raising funds for Irish Cancer Society. Cancer research is a cause close to us all, and we hope while remembering Bronwyn we can help the cause.
“Bronwyn was and still is a person we hold close to our hearts. She was a ray of sunshine in all of our lives and we miss her dearly everyday. With her passion for baking, music, fashion and art, Bronwyn has always inspired us. She was never afraid to be herself, and countless things remind us of her daily. Her loving spirit lives on within each and every one of us.
“Anyone and everyone is greatly welcomed to undertake the 100km challenge, as we know Bronwyn had many many friends and admirers. We hope through donations and sponsors we can raise funds for Irish Cancer Society. In addition for people looking to get involved in the fundraiser who may not be able to complete the entire 100km, any amount of walking possible in B’s memory throughout the month is a great achievement and is greatly appreciated.
“On Sunday the 11th of July, the weekend following Bronwyn’s fifth anniversary, we plan to walk together (while socially distanced), remembering B. This walk will take place in Glenveagh National Park, and everyone and anyone is welcome to take part in it. This is not specific to Bronwyn’s closest friends or those taking part in the 100km challenge, this is simply an opportunity for anyone, close friends and extended acquaintances of Bronwyn’s, who would like to walk for the Irish Cancer Society while remembering her and the memories they’ve shared with her.
“Cancer unfortunately has affected everyone either directly, through a family member or a friend, and through this walk we can all do something to raise funds for Irish Cancer Society, while remembering our beloved Bronwyn.”Tags: