A WEEKEND of celebrations has been held in memory of a 17-year-old who died earlier this year.
Michael Ian Gallagher, of Llys Tudor, Denbigh, would have been 18 on Sunday.
The trainee soldier died on New Year’s Day after he was involved in a collision with a car on Mold Road, Gwersyllt, Wrexham, at about 12.40am.
Now three days of celebrations have been held to mark his birthday by those who knew him, culminating with a release of balloons at Denbigh Castle.
A former Denbigh High School pupil, Ian was a student at the Motivational Preparation College for Training (MPCT) in Wrexham and had started his application to join the
Army and was well on his way to achieving his ambition of becoming a soldier.
Mother Andrea Gallagher said: “This is a final thing we’re doing for Ian – but we haven’t asked for this, people have just come forward to do this, so I just want to say thank you.”
She said the highlight of the weekend was a private firework display held in the churchyard of St Marcella’s, where Ian is buried, so that he could be present at the celebration.
“This was a one-off for the church yard,” said Andrea, “No-one’s ever done this before, and we had to get special permission.
“It was amazing, it was fantastic to be allowed to have it in the churchyard with Ian.
“We couldn’t have hundreds so we had to limit it to family and close friends
“I’m in awe of Alwyn (Dowell, of Uproar Fireworks, Ruthin) who has spent months organising this and donated his fireworks and time for free.
“We’ve had laughter, we’ve had tears, but without the support of everybody none of this would have happened,” she said.
As well as a private party in remembrance on Friday, organised by friends, everyone was invited to Denbigh Castle to let off helium balloons on Sunday, the day of Ian’s birthday.
The balloons were tagged with messages and Ian’s facebook memorial page address, so those who find them can leave a message and let people know where they had landed.
It was hoped to light a beacon at Denbigh Castle, but public liability authorisation did not come through in time due to computer problems.
“It wasn’t Cadw who refused, it’s like car insurance – you need that piece of paper in your hand to do it.
“They tried and tried to retrieve it,” Andrea said.
The celebrations came just before the inquest into Ian’s death, held in Ruthin on Tuesday, September 24.
Ahead of the inquest, Andrea said it would be a difficult day.
“We’re all very sad, there are lots of emotions,” she said on Monday “After tomorrow, that’s it.”
“You try to get back to normality, but do you ever get back to normality?” she asked,
“We’re devastated, we’ll never get over it, you just learn to live with it.”