19 March 2006

More than £7k raised to aid murdered teenager's fund



Pupils' tribute to pal Thomas

Stephen Breen
19 March 2006

The grammar school attended by murdered Belfast teenager Thomas Devlin has raised more than £7,000 for a special fund in his honour.

Sunday Life can reveal that £7,200 has been raised by parents, pupils and former pupils of Belfast Royal Academy through donations.

The fund was set up by the school shortly after the schoolboy's brutal murder, but is not part of the Thomas Devlin Fund - established by the murder victim's family, last month.

It's understood the money raised by the school will be used to provide a scholarship in the subjects of music and IT.

The subjects were chosen because they were the murder victim's favourites.

The school's fund was due to close in January, but was kept open by the principal Billy Young because of the number of donations still being made.

Mr Young also confirmed that the school plans to raise cash for the Thomas Devlin Fund with a sponsored walk on April 27.

Said Mr Young: "I am very pleased with the contributions made to the school fund and it's hard to believe they are still coming in.

"We were meant to close the fund at the end of January, but we just had to keep it going and we now have to think about another date.

"The school wanted to do something that helped keep Thomas's name alive and we will be discussing the best means of using the cash with his parents.

"We were thinking about a scholarship because it might help with the future of someone in the school and would be a fitting tribute to Thomas, who was robbed of his future.

"The school is struggling to come to terms with such a terrible loss and we are glad to support the family in any way we can."

Thomas's parents, Jim and Penny, last night praised people for contributing to the school fund.

Said Penny: "We can't thank the people who contributed to the school fund enough. We know the donations will be put to good use.

"We established our own fund but it's great to see the school doing all they can to remember Thomas because he represented the future of this society.

"The support we have received has been tremendous and it will help my family as we attempt to come terms with the loss of our son.

"We have established the fund to celebrate his life but people should also remember that the Sunday Life £10,000 reward is still in place to help get his killers off the streets."

A 22-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman arrested in connection with the killing were released on Friday pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

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