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New shelter named for the man who was 'a positive energy'

The Valletta shelter was blessed recently.

The Valletta shelter was blessed recently.

The memory of a young Maltese volunteer, who died in a motorbike accident a year ago to the day, will live on forever as YMCA starts welcoming people into its new shelter in Valletta today.

The 44-bed home, Dar Nicky Cassar, will offer shelter to homeless or abused women and children and will pay perfect homage to the man whose untimely death touched the lives of many.

"It's good to know that Nicky is still pouring all his energies into this world from Heaven," his mother Nadia Cassar told The Times.

An active member within YMCA and Aw Tribu, Nicky, 29, died from his injuries after he crashed while riding his motorbike in Bali where he was doing community work.

In 1990, he moved to Peru to do community work and transform it into alternative or community trade. Renowned as "the boy with the smile", Mr Cassar opened a school, educated its students and taught music and cooking.

He moved to Bali in June 2003 and was working on different projects to assist the underprivileged when tragedy struck on April 19, 2003.

A year later, Ms Cassar believes the Valletta shelter provides the perfect monument to the sterling work carried out by her son.

"Actually it's quite ironic because Nicky hated the limelight and his only interest was to do things for others. But I know Nicky is alive spiritually in everybody - he was a positive energy. He always believed he could fix the world on his own," his mother reminisced.

She thanked the YMCA for persevering with the positive projects started by her son.

YMCA director Jean Paul Mifsud said that demand for his organisation's services were increasing every year to the extent that eight to 10 people a day were resorting to the YMCA for social help. In 2003, the YMCA received 3,850 calls for interventions for which the association provided 1,350 bed-nights.

Evictions were on the increase and a number of these were the result of defaulting bank customers, Mr Mifsud noted.

Mass to mark Mr Cassar's first anniversary since his death will be held at the Pembroke church tomorrow at 6.45 p.m.

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