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Fundraising efforts continuing for Breaffy footballer missing in Canada

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MISSING David Gavin

Edwin McGreal

A series of events are taking place in the coming days for the David Gavin Emergency Fund.
The fund is helping with the search for David, a Breaffy footballer, who is missing since getting into difficulty in water in British Colombia, Canada two weeks ago today, on June 30.
Despite two weeks of searches, David’s body still has not been found and fundraising efforts to finance the ongoing search continue apace.
David (25) emigrated to Canada with his girlfriend Ciara last February and was living in Vancouver. He was en route to Calgary with football teammates from the ISSC club in Vancouver when they stopped for a swim and David got in difficulty in waters at Kinbasket Lake.
Aerial and underwater searches of the area have been taking place since but, thus far, without success.
Today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday), there will be a bucket collection and bag pack taking place in Tesco, Castlebar. All funds raised will go to the fund. The collection is being organised by Lorraine Kelly, a neighbour of David’s in Springfield, Castlebar and anyone who would like to volunteer for an hour or two can contact Lorraine on 087 6145931.
A fundraiser bag pack also takes place in Dunnes Stores in Ballina today, with proceeds going to the fund. Tonight Castlebar Tennis Club are hosting their ‘Fun Friday’ event at 8pm at their facility on the Lannagh Road in Castlebar.
All funds raised will be in aid of the emergency fund. To enter, text Shane on 087 6362300 or sign up in the clubhouse.
Also tonight in Breaffy GAA Clubhouse there will be a teenage disco for first, second and third year students from 8.30pm to 11pm. Entry fee is €5 and all the takings will go to the fund.
David played with distinction with Breaffy for many years, along with playing Minor and Under 21 with Mayo. Breaffy GAA are hosting their annual flag day in Castlebar tomorrow (Saturday). All funds raised will go to the fund.
Castlebar Mitchels men’s and ladies senior teams are hosting a fundraising barbecue tomorrow evening (Saturday) at An Sportlann, beside MacHale Park, in Castlebar from 7pm until late.
The cost is €10 per plate and all donations are welcome. Both the club’s men’s and ladies teams will be in action on the night.
The Shamrock Bar in Breaffy, who already hosted a very successful darts fundraiser, are hosting a fundraising barbecue this Sunday night in aid of the fund. It gets underway at 6pm and music from Niamh and Dave commences at 8pm. There will be spot prizes on the night too.
Next Friday, July 21 will see a table quiz fundraiser in The Connaught Inn on Spencer Street in Castlebar. It gets underway at 8pm. The cost is €40 per table of four and will be followed by an auction.
There will be music by Knight Owl afterwards and nibbles provided by The Connaught Inn.
Lee and Denis from The Connaught Inn said that, poignantly, they hosted David and Ciara’s emigration party on February 10 last and they want to do something to help the families.
Spaces are expected to be limited so they would be grateful if anyone interested in booking their table could contact The Connaught Inn on 094 9034764.
A host of Mayo GAA clubs donated the proceeds of their club lotto takings last weekend to the fund and more clubs are doing likewise this weekend.

Search efforts
Efforts to locate his body are continuing. A husband and wife team, Gene and Sandy Ralston, from Idaho in the USA are at the scene. They are a not-for-profit duo who specialise in recovery of bodies from water and are highly regarded in their field.
Also, sniffer dogs who specialise in locating a scent underway are being used while aerial flyovers are taking place.
However, Tadhg Egan, Chairman of the ISSC Club in Vancouver, who is currently at the scene at Kinbasket Lake, said the key currently is to get as much air and boat support as possible as the body may resurface at any time.
Despite a phenomenal fundraising effort on a Go Fund Me page which has seen over $275,000 (over €185,000) already donated to the emergency fund, they are finding it difficult to get the air and boat support they need at this crucial stage in the search.
“We really need all the help we can get in the next few days for shore searches if the body resurfaces. It is a remote area and a tricky body of water to navigate by the shoreline. Therefore boats and air support are crucial in ensuring that we are able to search as wide an area as possible because there is a limited time window if a body resurfaces to when it will go under again.
“Anyone in Ireland who may have family or contacts in Canada, particularly in British Colombia or Alberta provinces, please get in touch if you think you can be of assistance. Contact either ISSC Vancouver or Breaffy GAA in Mayo through their facebook pages or email info@isscvancouver.com or secretary.breaffy.mayo@gaa.ie. The remoteness of the area where we are searching combined with forest fires elsewhere in the province, which is likely to lead to the lock down of all helicopters for that purpose, are factors which are going against us in terms of getting boat and air support in our search to find David and bring him home.
“We are so grateful to everyone who has supported us so far, it has been overwhelming,” said Mr Egan.

Council fund
Mayo County Council, where David’s parents Michael and Angela both work, have set up an Benevolent Fund for people to make donations to who may not have access to the Go Fund Me online fundraiser.
In a statement the council said: “The members and staff of Mayo County Council stand with the Gavin family as the search for David continues and our thoughts and prayers are continuously with our colleagues Michael and Angela, David’s parents, as they deal with this unimaginable situation.”
The account name is The David Gavin Benevolent Fund and it is in AIB. The sort code is 937088, the account number is 34572048, the IBAN is IE36AIBK93708834572048 and the BIC is AIBKIE2D.

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