Mulgrave resident celebrated by burn support group

    MULGRAVE: A well-known resident of the town, who was killed in an ATV collision earlier this month, is being remembered by colleagues with the Nova Scotia Burn Support Group.

    At 11:45 a.m. on Feb. 13, Port Hawkesbury RCMP said they responded to a report of an ATV collision on Mill Street in Mulgrave and when officers arrived at the scene, they found “an injured man in the roadway.”

    According to a press release issued by the RCMP, the driver and lone occupant of the ATV, 57-year-old Daryll Ley of Mulgrave, was transported by Emergency Health Service (EHS) to the hospital where he later passed away from his injuries.

    The RCMP said it is investigating the incident.

    After news spread of his death, Ley’s fellow members of the support group, and his friends, took to social media to talk about Ley, who was described as a dear friend, a burn survivor, a husband, and a father.

    In the late 1980s, the mini home Ley was living in at the time, caught fire, leaving him with burns to over 80 per cent of his body, according to his family.

    Ley was a Cape Breton representative and vice-president of the Nova Scotia Burn Support Group for the past 10 years. He was also involved with “Camp Connect.”

    Group president Deborah Ward first saw Ley walking the halls of the Victoria General Hospital when he was there for surgery. She said she first met him at the first Nova Scotia Firefighters Burn Treatment Society’s burn camp in 1989.

    “Disclosing a bit about our accidents, I had never seen a grown man cry before and Daryll cried about what he had lost and his disfigurement,” she recalled. “But through the years, you could see the changes in Daryll. He became a very strong mentor to other survivors, regardless of age. At camp he interacted with the children, with the teenagers. He would sit and talk with them about problems they were having. He would sit with the adults and talk, and listen to somebody else’s story.”

    Ward said they got involved in the support group around the same and Ley was always willing to help.

    “It was very local here, but a lot of survivors, once they have dealt with it, they move on and don’t bother with the support end of it anymore,” she noted. “Daryll and I are the two that really hung in there. If something came up, I would call Daryll and say, ‘look, I just got a call, so and so down in Cape Breton, can you look into it?’ And he would, he was great that way.”

    For the group, and especially Camp Connect, losing Ley will be “huge,” Ward said, noting that Ley was always up for a good laugh, and his good humour will be missed by everyone. She said he was also a great mentor for any age or gender at the camp.

    “Daryll’s loss for us, at camp, is going to be huge. “He was always good for a laugh. Daryll loved to play darts or horseshoes, either or. It was not uncommon for him to say, ‘come on Deb, let’s go up to the craft room and have a game of darts.’ That was just the way he was,” she recounted. “Daryll and I would team up on different camp challenges, thinking, ‘we’re going to win this,’ and then be told that we came in last. It was just a good laugh. Daryll did a lot of stuff for the laughter of the children.”

    According to his obituary, cremation took place and a memorial will be held in the Mulgrave Fire Hall on Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the memorial is by invitation only and a reception will be held after the memorial and will be limited to 100 guests at a time.

    In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ley’s name to the Nova Scotia Fire Fighters Burn Treatment Society, Burn Unit.

    “I really loved Daryll. He was there whenever you needed him. It didn’t matter what it was for, he was there for you. I’m desperately going to miss him,” Ward added. “He will be missed, extremely much, by everybody. I know a lot of people will just say that because somebody has passed, but in this particular case, what people are saying in Facebook comments and everything are just phenomenal. It shows what type of man he was.”