Cookstown community comes together for second annual Walk of Hope

Pictured at the launch of the Cookstown Walk of Hope  were - Danielle Gallagher, Suicide Bereavement, Denise Doherty, Suicide Prevention Worker, Rev Andrew Rawding, organiser, Emily Brough Irish Churches Peace Project, Sean McElhatton, Good Relations Officer with Cookstown Council and Donna Arrell, Woodlands Beacon Centre.
Pictured at the launch of the Cookstown Walk of Hope were - Danielle Gallagher, Suicide Bereavement, Denise Doherty, Suicide Prevention Worker, Rev Andrew Rawding, organiser, Emily Brough Irish Churches Peace Project, Sean McElhatton, Good Relations Officer with Cookstown Council and Donna Arrell, Woodlands Beacon Centre.

A special event to remember those in the local community who have died by suicide and offer support for their loved ones will be held in Cookstown at the end of this month.

This is the second year of the event which is run by local suicide prevention and support organisations alongside local churches and Cookstown District Council.

This year the walk will depart from Holy Trinity College car park at 4.30pm on Sunday November 30 and participants are asked to bring their own light or symbol of hope.

The walk will conclude at the Christmas tree in the centre of town, where at 5pm there will be a service of hope conducted by local clergy and members of mental health and wellbeing support groups as well as performances from the Bridge Singers, Cookstown Folk Club and local primary schools.

Local support services will be available at the event including: Woodlands Beacon Centre; Cookstown and Western Shores Network (CWASN- Suicide prevention project); Niamh Louise Foundation, S.T.E.P.S, NHCT Suicide and Bereavement service, Cookstown District Council and Irish Churches Peace Project.

Speaking about the aim of the event, Rev. Andrew Rawding told the MAIL: “Our main aim is to remember those who have died by suicide, to show support for those who have been bereaved by suicide and those who continue to struggle with suicidal thoughts.

“We also want to provide support for those in distress and despair and struggling with loneliness and isolation at this time.”

Rev Rawding added: “We know that suicide is still a big taboo issue within our community but also that so many families and people are struggling with the issue and we want them to know that they have not been forgotten, that there are people and key organisations who want to offer support. We want to publicly show the community that we take suicide very seriously and want to do everything we can to help those who have been bereaved and who are struggling with thoughts of suicide.”

A special Facebook page has been set up for the event and can be found by simply searching ‘Walk of Hope’.

If you feel in distress or despair and would like to speak to someone confidentially you can call the Lifeline suicide prevention helpline open 24 hours on 0808 808 8000.