Precious memories of family times together, football banter and celebrity encounters are what Terry McMahon tries to focus on.

Mr McMahon’s son, Gavin, was the only North East victim of the devastating terror attack on the World Trade Center, New York, on September 11, 2001.

The 35-year-old insurance executive was on the South Tower's 99th floor when the second plane struck the building.

A former pupil of St Leonard's RC Comprehensive in Durham, his remains were recovered from Ground Zero by rescue teams.

Following a funeral service in New Jersey, his body was returned to County Durham and laid to rest in Chester-le-Street Cemetery.

His mother, Linda, who passed away at the age of 88 in 2019, is now buried with him.

Last year, Mr McMahon planned to visit the cemetery and place a wreath on their grave and a second at the foot of a memorial tree planted in the garden of nearby St Cuthbert’s Catholic Church.

Speaking on the 20th anniversary of his son's death, the then 88-year-old said: “They are both a big miss, I think of them every day and always will, especially when I’m by myself.

“But I try to focus on good times, the times we were together and he phoned a lot so I remember that.”

Read more: The hurt that won't go away, Gavin McMahon's family on the first anniversary

At the time, Mr McMahon said he would avoid watching footage of the Twin Towers’ collapse and instead quietly remember the good times.

Mr McMahon is a Newcastle United fan but his son followed Sunderland.

“On a Monday, he’d often ring and talk about the matches,” he said.

“If Newcastle lost he’d say how rubbish they were, if they won he’d tell me they were lucky.

“If Sunderland won it was great play, hard lines if they lost.

“We enjoyed a bit of football banter.

“One day he phoned and asked if I remembered the John Wayne film The Cowboys, I said ‘yes’ and he told me ‘I’m just sat having a drink with Roscoe Lee Brown dad’.

“Another time he rang and asked if I knew the film Raging Bull. I said ‘don’t tell me you’re with Robert De Niro’ and he said ‘no, but I’ve been with Jake LeMotta’ the boxer it was based on.

“He always had interesting things to say, sometimes from dos he'd been to.

“We were both so very proud of him, and I still am.”

*This story was first published on September 10, 2021.

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