Béibhinn’s mum Irene O’Connor and Béibhinn’s cousins Brooke and Jacob O’Connor at City Hall for the launch of the Heart Angel charity. Photo: Siobhan Russell

Charity launched in Béibhinn's memory

“Béibhinn Hope O’Connor, during her short life, inspired everyone around her to ‘be kind’. She lived everyday like it was her last and has left behind a powerful legacy of kindness, love and positivity.”

Those were the words of Béibhinn’s mum Irene O’Connor as a charity was launched in Béibhinn’s memory this week.

The Heart Angel is inspired by nine year old Béibhinn from Riverstick and Carrigaline and aims to celebrate and commemorate her life and the lives of other children who have passed away in Ireland.

Béibhinn suffered from a rare congenital heart defect, and she passed away on 16 September 2020 after a routine procedure following open heart surgery triggered a cardiac arrest.

The Heart Angel charity plans to create beautiful inspiring memory gardens in every county in Ireland and has already begun working with local authorities. The first Heart Angel garden is planned for Carrigaline and a second garden will be created in Cork city next year.

A special concert to celebrate Béibhinn’s life will also be held on 4 September. Béibhinn’s mother Irene O’Connor said: “The gardens are inspired by positivity, kindness, creativity, and colour and will be rolled out throughout the 26 counties of Ireland in memory of children who passed. There will be a sculpture in each garden of the ‘Heart Angel’ which will represent children who have died.

“We want the gardens to be colourful, uplifting and inspiring to all members of society. We also want to lift the taboo of speaking about a child’s death and to create a place where their friends and family can remember them in a positive light.”

The Heart Angel was launched at Cork City Hall by Cllr Fergal Dennehy, Deputising for the Lord Mayor and Cllr Séamus McGrath, Deputising for the County Mayor.

Cllr Dennehy said: “We remember Béibhinn today. She inspired so many people during her life and I know that her memory will live on through the wonderful Heart Angel gardens that are planned across Ireland.

“Remarkably, €100,000 was raised in Béibhinn’s name for childrens’ charities since she died. I know that the Heart Angel charity will continue to inspire young people across Ireland to carry on her kindness and keep her spirit alive.”