The friends of the teenager who drowned in Creggan reservoir last month are to stage a number of fundraisers in order to help his family meet funeral expenses.
Connor McCafferty’s pals are also determined to raise enough money to make a donation to the blue light services which assisted in the search and rescue operation for the 19 year old.
Hundreds of teenagers from the Creggan estate where he lived have since pulled together in a bid to support each other and the McCafferty family following the teenager’s death.
Those young friends were plunged into mourning for the second summer as another young man, Sean McNair, 18, had drowned in Lough Swilly almost exactly one year prior to the McCafferty family tragedy.
Connor’s partner, Sarah Harper, 18, said: “Connor’s friends have really pulled together. There has been a lot of support for us but, as a group of friends we are making sure we are there for each other.”
Describing Connor’s death as: “the hardest ever time of my life,” Sarah added: “We haven’t really left each others’ company or houses since it happened. We spend a lot of our nights together. I really don’t think it has even hit us, any of us really. While I don’t think I fully realise what it means yet I know we just want to stick together.”
As Sarah speaks she is surrounded by more than ten of her best friends in a touching show of solidarity.
“As friends we wanted to help the family as much as we are helping each other.”
To that end Sarah and Connor’s friends have arranged a number of fundraisers. Firstly they have organised a ‘Take Me Out Night,’ this coming Sunday while two further charity nights and plans for a memorial bench for Connor are also afoot.
“There are around 100 young people helping out in total,” said Sarah.
Friend Danielle McKeefrey said: “It helps us all by staying together, especially during that first week. We’ve spent time together as a large group every day since it happened.”
The Corn Beef Tin on Central Drive has extended opening hours in order to give the young people of Creggan a place to be together.
Hayley Sweeney said of the fundraising efforts: “The nights will be sad but they’ll be fun also.
“It is good to try and lift our spirits and try to laugh but mostly it is a good way to raise money for the family.”
It is hoped the ticket sales for the Take Me Out night will put £2,000 in the coffers. “Enough to cover most of the funeral costs,” said Sarah.
“Lots of businesses have been in touch already and lots of people are volunteering to help.
“It is great that there has been lots of support but we would still welcome more.”
Sarah singled out the manager of the Nerve Centre who paid for the rental of the venue from his own pocket. “For him to do that personally meant a lot. I really can’t thank people enough for the support they’ve given us since this all happened.”
‘Take Me Out’ a fundraiser for the Connor McCafferty funeral fund, hosted by Michael Doherty, will run at The Nerve Centre on Sunday August 12.
Tickets cost £5. Contact fundraising night for Connor McCafferty on Facebook.com