St Mary’s girls inspire memorial pin for late classmate Jodie-Lee

Louise James (centre) with baby Rioghnach-Ann launching the charity event in aid of Muscular Dystrophy UK at St Marys College on Wednesday afternoon last. Included in the picture are Megan Donnell, Marie Lindsay principal St Marys College, Catrina Devlin, Connie McIntyre, Theresa McIntyre, Christopher Daniels, Mr S. McBride form teacher, Tony McGrotty, Courtney-Lee James and Sarah Bonner. DER4716GS016
Louise James (centre) with baby Rioghnach-Ann launching the charity event in aid of Muscular Dystrophy UK at St Marys College on Wednesday afternoon last. Included in the picture are Megan Donnell, Marie Lindsay principal St Marys College, Catrina Devlin, Connie McIntyre, Theresa McIntyre, Christopher Daniels, Mr S. McBride form teacher, Tony McGrotty, Courtney-Lee James and Sarah Bonner. DER4716GS016

In a touching tribute to their late friend, Jodie-Lee, pupils from St Mary’s College have designed a memorial pin that will be widely on sale in the city next March as the North West marks the first anniversary of the Buncrana pier tragedy.

The pin, which features a red-and-white ribbon in the shape of a five, in memory of the five victims of the tragedy - Sean McGrotty, his two sons Mark and Evan, his mother-in-law Ruth Daniels and her daughter Jodie-Lee - was inspired by Jody-Lee’s classmates Sarah Bonner, Courtney-Lee James and Megan Donnelly, as Derry and Inishowen united in grief last March.

Megan said her friends at St Mary’s were devastated at the sudden loss of a wonderful friend and wanted to do something to remember her by.

“When we were sitting in class we were just thinking that we could do something, you know, to remember her and then one of my friends came up with the idea of making a badge,” said Megan.

“She got the idea from the Lisa Orsi campaign - they had pink ribbons - and we decided maybe we could do something like that.

“We all chipped in and ended up with the idea of making it red and white with Joshua [Daniels - Jody-Lee’s brother] playing for Derry City and remembering Evan too.”

Jodie-Lee’s sister and Evan’s mum Louise James said: “It was Jody’s friends’ idea. They did it in memory of the three children with the red and white for Derry City, for Man United, and because we went to the matches every Friday night to see Joshua play football.”

She explained that the pins will only be on sale from the beginning of March next year and that the family are now seeking shops, schools and community groups, who might be interested in selling them.

“People have been asking what they are about, so I just want to let people know what they are about and what they are there for and what’s coming down the road but I’ll only be selling them in the month of March,” said Louise.

“Connie and Theresa McIntrye who were in Buncrana that night - they helped that night and they played vital roles - own a shop [Cornshell Stores] so Connie’s going to be the first shop to take them in.

“Evan had Muscular Distrophy and we’ve fundraised since Evan was three. We also attended the Children’s Hospice in Belfast so I thought it would be a good way to use what the girls had done to put it into a pin in remembrance of all five of them,” she explained.

All monies raised next March will go to the Evan McGrotty Research Fund and the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.