‘We will never get over the shock of Ady’s death but we want to celebrate his life’

Ady is described as a person who loved life. He is pictured here in 2006 on holiday in Jamaica.
Ady is described as a person who loved life. He is pictured here in 2006 on holiday in Jamaica.

A POSITIVE, upbeat person with a love for life.

That is how Adrian Durr’s family remembers the 37-year-old who was tragically killed in a road accident 18 months ago. And to celebrate his fun-loving spirit, the family - so devastated by his sudden death on the main Dublin to Newry road in February 2010 - are determined to honour his memory while supporting a charity close to their hearts.

Ady, as he was known by his loved ones and wide circle of friends, was probably best known in the town for creating the hugely popular Facebook page ‘Banbridge Bling’.

The site, which received hundreds of hits after it was set up to recount memories for those who grew up in the town, took Banbridge by storm a few years ago and Ady told the Leader at the time that he was proud of how well-received the site had been.

The Banbridge man had vowed that, should the website reach 500 hits, he would hold a fundraising night for a charity which helped and supported him through some personal struggles of his own a number of years ago.

Sadly, having stopped off during a journey home to Banbridge one Friday night last year, Ady was hit by a car and pronounced dead at the scene. The area manager for grocery distribution centre Barry Group had been travelling home after working in Cork. Ady’s sister Diane said she will never forget the moment she heard her only brother, “the blue-eyed boy”, had died - just 35 minutes from home.

“Our world fell apart in seconds,” she told the Leader. “It was just a nightmare. Mum was expecting him up the road that night - she had the place set at the table but he didn’t come home.”

Eighteen months later Diane said she and her family feel ready to commemorate Ady in the way they feel he would have wanted them to.

“It’s been a very difficult year-and-a-half for us. The shock of Adrian’s death, how he was killed - we’ll never get over that, we just have to learn to live with it. We’re probably in the best place we can be at the minute. Don’t get me wrong we have good days and bad days but we knew we had to do this for Adrian - we wanted a celebration of his life. He was a very positive person, so upbeat and loved life and so that’s the way he would want us to be.”

And Diane and her family are keen to ensure the charity night at the end of September embodies everything they loved and miss about Ady.

“We always called him Ady and he absolutely loved the 80s so it’s ‘Ady’s 80s Night’,” explained Diane. “That was his era, that’s why he did Banbridge Bling. That was all the stuff he remembered from his younger days. All the music he loved was from the 80s.”

The Durr family is appealing to as many people as possible to support the Newry branch of addiction charity Cuan Mhuire, founded by Sister Consilio in 1966. Having seen the work they do in helping vulnerable people battle addiction and supporting their families, Diane said she is proud to be able to raise awareness and contribute to much-needed funding for the facility.

“The work they do is so good but the help almost goes unnoticed I think,” she said. “To be honest it’s very hard to get help for people - even from the Health Service point of view.

“There definitely is a need for it and a need for support for it. The building itself would need refurbished - but the care’s there and the love and support.”

Diane said she and the Durr family are keen to raise the charity’s profile and emphasise its accessibility to people from all backgrounds.

“It’s not a religious thing because I have seen people from all denominations helped,” said Diane. “Addictions don’t discriminate. They treat people from all walks of life - doctors, judges and all the rest. Gambling, drinking and drugs are all an addiction and they’re very hard for families to deal with. It can affect anybody. Nobody knows what’s round the corner and I think you have to have been through it to understand. A lot of people think it’s a Catholic thing but I know Protestants from Banbridge who have been to it and been helped by the people there. It’s not people of a certain class or creed or culture, that doesn’t matter when it comes to addiction.”

To support the cause and remember Ady’s life people are being invited to the Belmont Hotel’s Cocktail Bar on Friday September 30 from 8pm for an 80’s themed disco.

Leg warmers, perms and ra-ra skirts are optional but strongly encouraged and there will be a raffle on the night. Diane said the event will allow Ady’s family and friends to remember the good times and celebrate his life.

“He was the only boy (in the family), the blue-eyed boy. It is hard, it has left a big void in all our lives. We had him spoiled. But we try to be positive and stay positive because that’s the way he was. We miss him 24/7 but we also know he wouldn’t want us to be miserable. He was so happy and content with his life just before he died and that’s what we will remember.”

Anyone who cannot make it on the night can make a donation by contacting Diane Durr, Donna Morrow or Colette Durr Dickson through the Ady’s 80s Night facebook page.