More than 700 people donned the yellow t-shirts and watched the dawn break over Longford as part of the county’s first Darkness into Light walk in aid of Pieta House in Dublin, last Saturday morning.
“Unbelievable”, were the words used to describe the event by organiser Peter Masterson, who lost his brother-in-law Eamon to suicide just 12 months ago. “This is very special for Longford,” he added, “and what is happening here is very special…..in fact this is unbelievable. This event gives all of us an opportunity to remember our loved ones who have died by suicide and to raise awareness as well. This is the first time we have held the walk in Longford and there are over 700 people here this morning. It is very special indeed.”
The walk began at the Mall Complex at 4:15am and continued onto the Battery Road, out onto the by pass and back into the Mall - incorporating 5.1km in the process. People of all ages - from the very young, to the more mature - gathered in the darkness, many with their dogs by their sides, to witness something special in Longford. The spirit was electric. “Until it happens to someone in your family, you just can’t realise the impact it has,” one woman told the Leader. “Suicide bereavement is very traumatic and the loss is huge. My mother died by suicide and this event has given me the opportunity to remember her and to be part of something special that is helping to raise awareness around the issue. You need something like Pieta House there because you feel lost and you have so many unanswered questions. It is something that people need, and need more of, especially now with the number of suicides in Ireland.”
Joan Freeman, CEO and founder of Pieta House added, “Darkness into Light is an incredible experience and one that people remember for a long, long time”. There is already huge anticipation and with so many new locations involved for 2014 this event is going from strength to strength”.
“We are tying this year’s event in with our ‘Mind Our Men’ campaign that aims to reduce male suicide in Ireland, so I asked everyone to bring a male friend or family member with them,” she said.
More photos on Page 36.