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Friday, August 13, 1999 Published at 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK

Special Report

Record sales give 'hope' to bomb victims

Donation comes days before first anniversary of the Omagh bomb

Proceeds from a charity record released after the Omagh bomb has given a major boost to an appeal fund set up to help the injured and bereaved.

The directors of White Records, which produced the highly successful album Across the Bridge of Hope has presented the Omagh Bomb Appeal Fund with a cheque for £200,000 on Friday.

It comes as the County Tyrone town prepares for Sunday's first anniversary of the Real IRA bomb which killed 29 people and injured more than 300.

[ image: Flowers were left in memory of the bomb victims]
Flowers were left in memory of the bomb victims
The money is the first instalment from the proceeds of an album which features some of the world's best known musicians.

These include U2, Boyzone, the Spice Girls, Paul Weller, Sir Cliff Richard, The Corrs and Sinead O'Connor, who all offered their services free.

The album was the brainchild of music executive Tim Hegarty, who is based in London but originally from Londonderry.

Bomb victims

He said he felt he had to contribute in some way to help the victims of the 15 August bombing.

So he enlisted the help of Ross Graham, a record producer from Belfast and together they formed White Records Ltd.
[ image: Shaun McLaughlin: Wrote a poem shortly before he died]
Shaun McLaughlin: Wrote a poem shortly before he died
The title of the album, Across the Bridge of Hope, came from a poem written by one of the bomb victims, 12-year-old Buncrana boy Shaun McLaughlin shortly before his death.

Mr Hegarty explained why the poem was so poignant.

"It seemed to suggest the spirit of a young boy's desire for a better future and embodied the hope for peace and reconciliation that the artists on the album wished to convey," he said.

"The directors of White Records hope that the money raised by the sales of the album will go in some small way to help the many victims of the Omagh bomb."

Sales soar

Released on 30 November 1998, sales of the album have soared.

It contains unique recordings including a poignant reading of Shaun's poem by Liam Neeson recorded in New York and a version of ABBA's Chiquitta by Sinead O'Connor.

The record company estimate that a further £100,000 has yet to come through from exports, artist royalty donations and gift aid, a tax break from the government.

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