Family of tragic Kieran Swinton set up charity

The teenager had not long passed his driving test. Picture: Contributed.
The teenager had not long passed his driving test. Picture: Contributed.

HIS family should have been organising his 21st birthday party, ordering cake, preparing balloons and finalising a guest list.

But instead, Kieran Swinton’s loved ones participated in a fundraising walk “down memory way” as they celebrated the late teenager’s special day.

Loved ones aim to help others in memory of the 19-year-old who died in a road accident.

Loved ones aim to help others in memory of the 19-year-old who died in a road accident.

His friends and family walked from Musselburgh Lagoons to Ormiston Park, visiting sites from his childhood such as Prestonpans and various parks where he played football, to raise money for a charity in his name.

His mum, Amanda O’Neill, has set up “A Gift From Kieran”, which aims to help local community groups and causes in her son’s memory.

The charity also helps individuals who may need support or funds for a specific reason – something they believe Kerian would have been passionate about.

The 19-year-old, a former pupil of Ross High School, Tranent, passed away early last year when his work’s van collided with a school bus in North Lanarkshire.

He had left for the day from his Ormiston home as usual before he died at the scene on the A803 Stirling Road, in Banton, while he was on his way to work as a scaffolder with Springfield Properties.

No-one on the school bus was injured but the driver was taken to hospital for treatment before being released.

Today, his family have spoken out about their devastating loss and revealed that they are ­hoping their charity will allow Kieran’s legacy to live on.

Amanda, 41, Kieran’s mum and chairwoman of the charity, said: “As a family we were completely devastated but found comfort in the kindness Kieran has showed in his life.

“He was an extremely kind, caring and loving young man who would taken the shirt off his own back if it would help someone else more.

“With this memory of him, my family and I were keen to create a legacy that will allow us to ensure Kieran is always remembered.

“I don’t want anyone to forget him or the amazing nature he had.”

She added: “We wanted to do something positive with our grief and continue with our lives as he would have wanted.

“Starting a charity that benefits the local community was an obvious choice for us.

“We get to raise funds in his name and help to develop and invest in the local community.”

The main aim of A Gift From Kieran is to organise and host recreational events and activities offering local communities a chance to come together.

It helps groups and projects who require support, along with being involved in setting up new community groups or projects where there is a need for them.

It also offers help to indivduals who need it – for example families who need support with cancer treatment.

Trudie Swinton, 24, Kieran’s sister, told of how setting up the charity helped her family cope with their grief.

Despite knowing how kind a person Kieran was, when they heard even more heartbreaking stories from his friends, they knew they had to do something to allow his legacy to live on.

She said: “What happened was a tragedy, it was just completely unexpected as anyone can imagine.

“My mum was the driving force behind getting the charity started and it really helped us all deal with our grief.

“After Kieran died we met even more of his friends and it was just amazing to hear about all the lovely things he’d done for people and the type of person he was.

“He lived two lives, he had his friends and his family. They were important to him.

“After we met all his friends and they told us the stories, we wanted to make sure he had a bit of a legacy.

“We wanted to remember him for the good things.”

She added: “I think we all know this is something Kieran would have really wanted too.

“We are trying to help as many people as we can and have plenty of fundraising activites planned.”

Kieran lived with his mum, step-dad, step-brother, and his three younger brothers Ollie, 5, Charlie, 3, and Struan, 2.

Trudie added that her mum was keen to have something “special” for his little brothers to remember him by.

She said: “Sometimes my mum and I have the same dreams about Kieran and then we wake up and discuss them – it’s so strange. We aren’t too sure why that happens.

“The charity has given my mum a purpose and something for us to focus on.

“It’s nice something good has come from what’s happened and that Kieran hasn’t died for nothing.

“My mum wanted something special for his little brothers to remember him by and for the lovely person he was to be recognised.”

A Gift from Kieran is currently working with Active Schools East Lothian to form Ormiston Football Development Club among other projects.

The club was set up to encourage kids of all abilities to be able to play football in a non-competitive enviroment until such times they are able to move on to another community club.

Over the summer a series of fundraising activities has also been set up to raise money for the charity, including a darts and dominoes tournament, teddy bears picnic and a mini assault course.

courtney.cameron@jpress.co.uk