Tears flowed in the Late Late Show studio last night after two families with members long cast to far corners of the globe were reunited for Christmas.
Supermacs' ‘Bring Them Home’ campaign resulted in Michael Murphy and sons Patrick and Calum; and Gareth Quann with wife Jacque and little girl Sadhbh, being revealed to their respective families amid emotional scenes.
The annual competition had resulted in hordes of applicants pitching their stories to the Tubridy Show on 2FM all this month, and last night’s emotional reunion was a suitably tearful finale.
For Michael Murphy, 51, it was a trip home for a first Irish Christmas in 26 years. The Dubliner moved to Australia shortly after his father’s death in 1987 and met his wife, Shirley, there.
Apart from a trip back in 1992 for his brother’s wedding, visits home have been few and far between for Michael — he couldn’t make the 1993 funeral of sister Kathleen but he came in 2006 for the last days of his mother’s life, and her funeral. Tragically, in August last year, Shirley died suddenly from a brain haemorrhage, just two days after Michael’s 50th birthday.
This trip home was altogether happier, meaning his children could meet their aunt, Michael’s sister Lena, for the first time. Yesterday, she said Michael would get to visit all the family, most of whom are living in Co Wexford. In addition, Patrick will celebrate his 13th birthday on Christmas Eve, while Calum turns 11 on Dec 28.
As for Gareth Quann of Skerries in Dublin, he moved to Boston in 1999 and has lived there since with wife Jacque and daughter Sadhbh, 2.
Gareth, 34, was home for a week four years ago but financial constraints put paid to plans for other visits home and Gareth has missed both his parents’ 70th birthdays and the births of his nephews and nieces.
Gareth and Jacque are expecting their second child while Gareth’s mother has suffered some illness this year, prompting Gareth’s sister Amanda to apply to bring them home for Christmas.
Amanda yesterday said it had been overwhelming. “I had no idea that we had any chance of winning at all,” she said. “I was really shocked — it was amazing.”
The visit means Gareth’s siblings get to meet Sadhbh for the first time, and the crew will spend Christmas here before flying back on Jan 2.
Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy said: “I was delighted to be part of this heart-warming campaign which reunites families over Christmas.
“The Late Late Show team and I found it very hard to contain our excitement as we knew that this was going to be an emotional and happy reunion for both Michael Murphy’s and Gareth Quann’s family.”
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