Wednesday 11 December 2019

Metallica sing tribute to crash victim fan Chris

James Hetfield with (from back) James Vaughan and Daniel
Alves, and front Gary Davis, Cathal Malone and Cian Cagney
James Hetfield with (from back) James Vaughan and Daniel Alves, and front Gary Davis, Cathal Malone and Cian Cagney

The heartbroken family of a young Co Meath man killed just weeks before he was due to see Metallica in concert have thanked the rock legends for dedicating a song to him at their Slane Castle gig.

Lead singer James Hetfield brought tears of sadness and joy to family members when he announced "This is for a friend we never met - Christopher Bell", before launching into the classic Nothing Else Matters.

Christopher (26), from Duleek, died after his motorbike was in a collision with a tractor on the Clonmellon Road outside Kells on May 25.

The hugely popular Corporal in the Defence Forces Army Reserve was on his way to a holiday home in Co Westmeath when the accident happened. His distraught partner Carina was following him in her car.

Christopher was an avid fan of Metallica and already had his ticket to see his idols in Slane. His uncle Adrian Murray said Christopher's sisters, Nicole and Katie, had brought his ticket to the concert in his honour.

"I brought Christopher to see his first Metallica gig in 2008 in Marlay Park when he was only 15," said Adrian. "He was gobsmacked and it made him even more interested in playing guitar.

"Christopher was someone who gave you his all. He lived life to the full and didn't do things in half-measures. The fact he was so well-liked and respected in the Defence Forces was evident at his funeral."

Just ahead of the gig, Adrian got a call from a friend telling him he had managed to contact the band. "A friend of mine had got in touch in some way and said Metallica had agreed to remember Christopher but we didn't know in what way.


"Then when we heard James Hetfield say those words 'This is for a friend we never met, Christopher Bell', in the opening bars of Nothing Else Matters, it gave us such a lovely and positive feeling.

"It was a little light in the darkness we are all going through since he died. For those few last songs, it was like he was there with us."

Meanwhile, the band took in some tourist spots across the country including the Cliffs of Moher on Monday.

They caught locals by surprise when they popped in for dinner in Vaughan's Anchor Inn in Liscannor. Owner Lisa Vaughan said: "They parked the helicopter behind the hotel and went up along the Cliffs of Moher and then popped in to us.

"One of our chefs, Gary Davis, would be a big fan of theirs so the lead singer, James Hetfield, went into the kitchen to say hello to him."

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