herald

Monday 17 December 2018

Greece fire victim Brian was 'amazing', say pals

St Senan’s parish priest Fr Arnie Rosney signs a book of condolence for the late Brian O’Callaghan-Westropp at SS John and Paul Church, Shannon
St Senan’s parish priest Fr Arnie Rosney signs a book of condolence for the late Brian O’Callaghan-Westropp at SS John and Paul Church, Shannon

Former college classmates of Brian O'Callaghan-Westropp, who died in the Greek wildfires, have set up a fundraising page in his memory.

The newlywed, who was on his honeymoon, was confirmed among the 87 dead in the tragedy that has devastated Greece.

His wife, Zoe Holohan, who works in the advertising dep- artment of the Sunday World newspaper, is currently recovering in hospital.

The Brian O'Callaghan-Westropp Memorial page was set up on GoFundMe yesterday with a target of €5,000. All proceeds will be donated to Ms Holohan.

The page's organiser, Derek Malone, told the Herald that Mr O'Callaghan-Westropp had been studying alongside him for the Masters of Business Administration in the National College of Ireland at night for the past two years.

The late Brian O’Callaghan-Westropp Photo: PA
The late Brian O’Callaghan-Westropp Photo: PA

Distraught

He said the class had wanted to do something in his memory.

"We are all completing our theses now, due in at the end of August, and we all should have been graduating together in November, so it has just rocked everyone," said Mr Malone.

"He was our class representative."

There were around two dozen students on the course.

On the fundraising page, Mr O'Callaghan-Westropp was described as "an amazing man who helped all around him".

"We, as his colleagues in NCI, are distraught at this time, and like all his friends, colleagues and family are trying to come to terms with this incredible loss," says a message on the page.

"Brian's life was lost too soon and too young, and he leaves a hole in our hearts. We will never forget his larger-than-life personality, his laughter and spirit that carried us all at times.

"His enthusiasm and his passion and his zest for life were infectious.

"It is incredible to think that Brian was completing his second consecutive Masters course while volunteering, fundraising and planning his wedding to his beloved Zoe.

"His focus and drive were inspirational to all who he encountered."

Mr O'Callaghan-Westropp had flown to Greece only last Saturday with Ms Holohan, two days before tragedy struck.

He lived and worked in Dublin but was from Killaloe, Co Clare, where his loss has also been deeply felt

Local people in St Senan's Parish, Shannon, in the diocese of Killaloe, have been signing a book of condolence.

They travelled to the Jubilee Chapel of Mary Immaculate Church and SS John and Paul Church to convey their sympathies to the family following the tragedy.

The parish priest, Fr Arnie Rosney, told the Herald yesterday that the entire community had been very saddened to learn about Mr O'Callaghan-Westropp's death, and many would remember him growing up there.

Fondly

He said that opening a book of condolence was about giving people the opportunity to come to their two churches in the parish and to offer their sympathies through writing a simple message or signing it.

"A lot of people remember him fondly," said Fr Rosney.

"He lived in the Tradaree area of Shannon, and his family also have connections with Newmarket-on-Fergus, which is the next parish to us.

"He would have been best man to some parishioners here at their weddings.

"He grew up here and went to St John's School initially, and then went to St Patrick's Comprehensive.

"A number of people would still have kept in contact with him.

"There is a sense of shock and sadness and upset for the family."

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

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