Up early for great cause
More than 1700 people people set their alarms early and got up in the middle of the night to take part in Wexford's Darkness into Light walk, which left St. Joseph's Community Centre at 4.15 a.m. last Saturday morning.
Wrapped in multiple layers topped with yellow tee-shirts and and woolly hats against the pre-dawn cold, participants walked 5 kilometres around the town in aid of the suicide and self-harm prevention service Pieta House.
An estimated 200,000 people simultaneously people took part in the 10th anniversary event at 150 locations around Ireland with walks also held abroad.
'I think the youngest was a three-week old baby in a buggy and the oldest that I spoke to was 70,' said Wexford Darkness into Light chairman Liam McCabe, who cut a ribbon at the start and made two large wooden candle shapes illuminated by nightlights to add to the atmosphere of the occasion as people arrived, while a giant 'Hope' sign underlit with candles was supplied by Pieta House.
Some of the walkers have been personally touched by suicide and found it very therapeutic to be involved, said Liam who has witnessed the tragedy of suicide through his work as a volunteer with Wexford MarineWatch.
Participants were served tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits in St Joseph's Centre, where Lee Hynes of South East Radio played music.
Last year, the Wexford event raised €46,000 through online registration and donations and should at least match that amount this year.
Liam thanked St Joseph's Community Centre staff, Wexford MarineWatch, the Order of Malta, the Coast Guard, An Garda Síochána, Scouting Ireland and Summerhill Guides for their help.