A mountain rescue charity has said it is deeply humbled by the generosity of a father-of-two whose wife died tragically while she was out running in Comeragh Mountains, Co Waterford, two months ago.
South East Mountain Rescue Association (Semra) recently received a significant donation from the Gillian Ryan Fundraiser which was launched by her husband Conor and family.
Gillian Ryan, 37, a hairdresser from Ashill, Horse and Jockey, Thurles, Co Tipperary went missing on April 18 at around 12.45pm close to the Coumshingaun Loop trail. Her body was found in a steep gully above the lake by rescue teams at 6.30pm the following day following the accident.
The alarm was raised when she did not make contact with her husband at 2pm and gardaí were called at 3pm.
Semra led the multi-agency search along with Search And Rescue Dog Association Ireland Rescue 117 of the Irish Coast Guard along with the Kerry Mountain Rescue, Dublin and Wicklow search teams and the Glen of Imaal mountain rescuers and Civil Defence volunteers.
The fundraising campaign set-up for Semra by Mr Ryan and Olympic medallist Sonia O’Sullivan for her racing colleague raised just over €27,000 on gofundme.com/SouthEastern Mountain Rescue on behalf of Gillian.
A rescue team spokesperson said: “We really appreciate the support. The generosity of Gillian’s family and friends at such an extremely tough, sad and challenging time is deeply humbling.
"We do what we can to help people where we can and this will help us to continue to do that wherever it is needed.”
Semra’s work is entirely voluntary, and although it receives some government funding and local grants, it relies heavily on donations to cover operational, training and daily running costs.
The spokesperson said: “Thanks to everyone that supported and raised money and awareness for this fundraiser and for Semra over the last few weeks.
“Thanks also to Coast Guard Rescue 117, gardaí, the National Ambulance Service, Search and Rescue Dog Association [Ireland], Civil Defence Ireland and the many Mountain Rescue Ireland teams and local groups and businesses that played vital and invaluable roles in the search and recovery operation for Gillian.
“From talking to family and friends, we know that Gillian was a very giving person and supported and raised money for many valuable causes. Gillian took part in our last annual fundraiser, the Long Way Round in Clonmel in 2019. May Gillian rest in peace”