FORMER Albion star Gerry Armstrong today told for the first time of his devastation at the Omagh bombing which killed a member of his family.

Twenty-eight people died when a terrorist car bomb exploded in the Northern Ireland market town ten days ago.

Brenda Logue, 17, the niece of one of Gerry's aunts, was among the victims.

Close family members, including two brothers and a sister, were in the town at the time of the attack butescaped unharmed.

Gerry, a former Northern Ireland international, was taking part in a football show for the BBC's 24-hour satellite channel when the news broke.

He now plans to be involved in the first fundraising event to help victims of the tragedy, at Brighton's Dome theatre on September 6.

Stars due to appear include Irish comic Frank Carson, fellow funnyman Dave Allen and members of Riverdance.

Gerry, 44, of Roman Road, Hove, said: "It sent a shiver through me when I heard what happened. I was at the studio in Shepherds Bush and just kepttrying to get through to my sister on the phone.

"She has spoken to a few members of my family on mobiles and knew a lot of people had died. I obviously feared the worst."

Gerry's siseer Joanne, 38, had been shopping in Omagh 30 minutes before the explosion and brother Sean, 40, was visiting the town.

Youngest brother Eugene, 32, was playing football in a different part of the town when the bomb went off.

Gerry's parents were also fortunate to be well away from the blast.

His 69-year-old mother Kathleen, who lives a street away from the bomb site, was visiting relatives in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

His father, also called Gerry, has a farm in the village Fintona on the outskirts of Omagh. He was holidaying in America.

Gerry said: "We were very fortunate, but a lot of other people were not so lucky.

"It was a disgraceful act. I was so relieved when I managed to speak to my brother as I had kept trying to contact him but the phone lines were all engaged.

But despite the devastation, Gerry believes the town will recover.

He said: "The people want peace to work, and they are going to make sure it works. The community is behind it 100 per cent."

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.