The father of Alan Drennan, the young Mossley man who died suddenly while on holiday in Ibiza last summer, has thanked everyone who gathered at Loughshore Park on Tuesday to remember his son.
More than 100 people attended an evening memorial service, which marked the first anniversary of the 21-year-old’s tragic death, while dozens more had joined together earlier in the day for a special prayer service.
His dad Alan Snr, mum Verona and brothers Lee (24) and Karl (16) were joined at the events in Jordanstown by the parents of Kevin Bell - the young Newry man killed in a hit-and-run in New York in 2013. Dozens of Alan’s friends and several local council representatives also attended the services.
Balloons carrying messages of love for ‘young Alan’ were released into the air, while three memorial benches were unveiled in the park.
“One bench is for young Alan, one is dedicated to Kevin Bell and the last one is for anyone who has lost a loved one - something for everyone in the community,” Alan Snr explained. “We know there are people out there who have lost loved ones and they haven’t got the support of family and friends or the contacts we’ve had, so this bench is something for them.”
He said that two memorial trees are to be planted in the park later in the year, and a separate memorial bench has been installed at Alan’s local, Maloneys Bar.
Thanking all those who attended Tuesday’s memorial events, Alan Snr said: “It is astounding how much support there still is out there for us and young Alan. We really appreciate it.”
Alan Jnr, who worked as a mechanic, was found dead in his hotel room on July 19, 2015, less than 24 hours after arriving in Ibiza.
While the official cause of death was given as organ failure, his friends and family believe he died as a result of injuries he sustained after being beaten by Spanish police.
The circumstances surrounding Alan’s death are still being investigated, and his family say they just want people to know the truth.
“I haven’t read the second post mortem report - I was advised not to,” Alan Snr continued. “But it won’t change anything for me, nothing is going to bring my son home.
“Alan’s case is still being investigated by an international body that investigates cases of alleged police brutality. I just want people to know what happened - the truth is all that I’m after.”
In the 12 months since Alan’s death, his friends have been actively fundraising for the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust - the charity that helped the Drennan family bring Alan’s body home. And according to Alan Snr, they have raised in excess of £13,000.
“I just want to thank everybody and anybody that has helped us or had us in their thoughts,” he added. “The amount of people who have contacted us with messages of support has been unbelievable. People have been amazing. Their support for the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust and the acts of kindness towards us personally have been incredible - it’s what’s kept us going to be honest.”