View the beautiful photos in our Natasha Richardson gallery

Leave your thoughts on Liam and Natasha in our Tributes forum's own Father Tim on loss and death

Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson were the class act of the Irish American community in New York.

Whatever the worthy cause, whether the American Ireland Fund or the Irish Arts Center Liam and Natasha were there to help support the groups determined to make life better for others.

In 1998 when an horrific dissident IRA bomb exploded in Omagh and killed 30 people, Liam and Natasha were first to the aid of the stricken families writing a check for close to $100,000.

The money came from a libel action that the couple won after the Daily Mirror alleged their marriage was over. Rather than pocket the money they gave it to one of the most deserving causes in Ireland. It was that kind of dedicated service to the community that endeared them to everyone.

When animal rights people were protesting about the horse and carriage teams in Central Park, Liam wrote to the New York City Council in defense of the Irishmen and women who make their living ferrying tourists round Central Park.

They never carried themselves like superstars at the events they attended. Rather they both had a sense, not of their own importance, but of the importance of others and what they were trying to achieve.

Last year, when he was presented with an award from the American Ireland Fund, Liam almost broke down in tears as he described how important it was for a generation of Irish in Northern Ireland to grow up without the hate and violence that his generation experienced.

Their great Irish love was the American Irish Historical Society, where Liam was a board member. A few years back they included their kids in the evening when Liam received the culture award. It was hard to see a more striking couple, or a more perfect family. That makes this tragic loss all the more awful to contemplate.

Recently Liam spoke at a dinner at the American Irish, as it is known, and gave a wonderful account of how important it was for him and his kids to share their Irish heritage together.

The young former boxer and Northern Ireland actor and the daughter of a famous British theatrical family hardly seemed the most likely couple on earth. But when you saw them together you knew instantly that a deep bond of love existed between them.

Now it is no more, but the world is a better place for having known Natasha and her wonderful acting skills and her deep love for her husband and children.

Poignantly, Vanessa Redgrave attended the launch of this Web site last Sunday at the American Irish Historical Society. She seemed so happy, chatting with friends old and new and being her usual gracious self. Little could we all have known what dark tragedy the following day would bring.