The family of Kyle Simmons, a 20-year-old father of two from Limavady who lost his life in a tragic car accident eight weeks ago, are holding a community fundraiser in his memory.
On Tuesday, March 8, 2014, Kyle Simmons died after his car collided with a lorry on the Broad Road just outside Limavady.
He was a much-loved father of two girls – one-year-old Peyton and three-year-old Alysha.
The Simmons family have decided to hold a community ‘fun day’ and car boot sale to mark what would have been Kyle’s 21st birthday next week with proceeds in aid of cancer research and road safety.
Kyle, a well known and extremely popular figure around Limavady, had been planning to hold his own charity fundraiser in aid of cancer research this summer until his life was tragically cut short.
The fun day is planned for next Saturday (May 17), just a few days after Kyle’s 17th birthday.
His mother, Diane, explained: “It was just a couple of weeks ago we were sitting and we were talking about it. For all the birthdays, you see, we always go out for dinner as a family and then they do their own thing at the weekend with friends.
“As I’m sure you might have seen with the bits and pieces about Kyle, he was just full of beans – 24 hours of the day, every day, full of just, life.
“I said when we were talking about the birthdays that it kept coming into my head that we should have a fun day, because everybody will remember him on that day. It’s still celebrating his memory and it’s for charity.
“I just sort of started emailing people to see if we could get any help. Everybody has just been so supportive, brilliant – donating stuff. We have never done it before so we were thinking ‘how will this work out?’”
Thanks to the support of the community in Limavady, Kyle’s commemorative fun day appears to be set to turn out really well.
Already planned is a car boot sale, bouncy castles, bric-a-brac stalls, a bonny baby competition, kids’ face painting and tattoos, barbeque, fun, games, raffles and more.
The money raised is to go towards road safety and cancer research.
Kyle’s mum explained that a major reason for the charity effort is that Kyle’s untimely death meant he was unable to follow through with his own plans for a charity fundraiser.
“We were planning to do a charity parachute jump or something,” she said.
“We had talked about that, you know, and we said we were going to do it this summer. That’s why whatever we raise we’re giving half to cancer research and then half to road awareness.
“Kyle’s own charity thing would have been for cancer, because both his grandparents had passed away with cancer so that was his reasoning for that. The other charity is going to be for road safety awareness.
“There’s one called Road Peace. It’s a charity to help for counselling and stuff like that for other families. I’ve just sent for the cancer research pack. It was the councillor, Alan Robinson, it was him who helped me out with wee sort of pointers. He said you just really contact them with email and they’ll send you out a package.”
She said that organising the charity event in Kyle’s name has given her something to focus on: “Seven weeks it’s been. You have good days and bad. Our motto is just take the day as it comes.
“You don’t look too far forward, because you couldn’t say from one day to the next if you’re going to be level or you want to take to your bed and see nobody. We have a lot of our own family here. We all keep each other distracted because they are all over all the time. This gives us something to focus on.”
Kyle’s dad, David, added: “It’s good to talk about it. There’s people that come in and they are sort of scared to talk to you but it is definitely good to talk about it.”
Diane continued: “The main reason for that fun day is his birthday is actually the 13th, Tuesday.
“We would have done the family thing, and then he would have went out on the Saturday. That’s why it’s on the Saturday. He’ll still be in everybody’s mind. It’s there.
“Nobody’s going to forget that it’s his 21st birthday because everybody that comes in the gate is going to know that it is in his memory. He would have been 21. The kind of Kyle is, he wouldn’t want us all sitting here moping. He would be saying ‘come on, get up, get yourself together’.”
The family say they have been taken aback by the level of support they have received from local businesses and the people of Limavady.
“It’s amazing how generous people can be”, David remarked.
“In Limavady people do seem to pitch in together. I think it’s only times like this that you actually realise things like that – that you do have a real community.
“Ones say ‘Limavady’s rough’ and ‘Limavady’s this or that’ but whenever you meet people it’s amazing. At Kyle’s wake and funeral everybody was fantastic. So much support and even yet, all his young mates would call with us now and again and I think it takes a tragedy for you to know good people can be.
“You forget. It’s so easy for you to lock yourself in your own wee bubble with your own wee family life and that’s it. You don’t think about anything else.
“The girls, they’re all getting feedback on Facebook with ones saying ‘we’ll all be there’. Maybe with this now being in the ‘paper other businesses could give a donation to cancer research or to road safety.”
A popular figure
The Simmons family are also hoping to attract as many people from local car boot sale circles as possible.
“He loved the car boot sales and for a young fellow of 20, he had no worries about who seen him at the car boot sale,” she said.
“He would have been up in the morning, half nine, saying ‘are you for the car boot sale Mummy?’ He would have got up and he would have stood and bargained and mooched and that would have made his day.
“We’re having a car boot sale. That’s something I would really like to get across. All the car booters are welcome. There’s ones up there at that one in Greysteel and they would have knew before he even came their length that he was going to bargain.”
Kyle was a highly popular figure around Limavady.
Diane said: “Everybody that comes in here, there was so many who were his mates, and I know he had lots of friends, but we kept a wee file just for his friends to write something in memory of him. It was for us to have in the future.
“Every single one of his mates wrote something like ‘you were my best mate man’ or ‘you’re a legend’.
“He just had time for everybody. He didn’t just have his own wee group of friends. There were so many. He was just a big personality type.”