generous reaction | 

Mountain rescue charity 'humbled' by €27k donation in memory of runner Gillian Ryan

Gillian (37) went missing after going for a run in the Comeraghs on April 18
Gillian Ryan (37) died in April

Gillian Ryan (37) died in April

Sarah Slater

A mountain rescue charity has said it is “deeply humbled” by the generosity of a father-of-two who lost his wife while out running in the Comeragh Mountains two months ago.

Gillian Ryan (37) went missing after going for a run in the mountains on April 18. The alarm was raised when the keen runner did not make contact with her husband Conor later that afternoon.

A massive search operation was launched and tragically the remains of the hairdresser from Ashill, Horse and Jockey, Thurles, Co Tipperary, were found in a steep gully the following day.

South East Mountain Rescue Association (SEMRA) recently received a significant donation from the Gillian Ryan Fundraiser which was launched by her husband and family.

SEMRA led the multi-agency search along with Search And Rescue Dog Association Ireland (SADRA), Rescue 117 of the Irish Coast Guard along with the Kerry Mountain Rescue, Dublin and Wicklow search teams and 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.

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 funding from Government and local grants, it relies heavily on donations to cover operational, training and daily running costs.

The spokesperson added: “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 (NAS), 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”.

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