Tree of Hope planted in Carrick-on-Suir in memory of local people who died by suicide

Aileen Hahesy

Reporter:

Aileen Hahesy

Tree of Hope planted in Carrick-on-Suir in memory of local people who died by suicide

Invited guests who raised approximately €20,000 for Pieta House during the Covid-19 lockdown pictured at the Tree of Hope planted at Parkside, Carrick-on-Suir last Saturday

Carrick-on-Suir’s Darkness Into Light Committee planted a Tree of Hope last Saturday in memory of people from the town who have died by suicide. 

The cherry tree was planted near the town’s 1916 memorial garden at Parkside in Carrick-on-Suir to mark World Mental Health Day. 

Due to Covid-19 restrictions,  the tree planting ceremony wasn’t a public event. 

 Local Darkness Into Light Committee representatives were joined by a number of invited  guests, who raised approximately €20,000 for Pieta House suicide and self-harm prevention centre during the Covid-19 lockdown as the charity’s flagship  5km walk/run fundraiser couldn’t go ahead. 

The guests included Lee Lanigan, who completed a gruelling 50km fundraising run while carrying a 50lbs weight on his back; Laura Byrne who did a sponsored  walk, and   friends Bido Kavanagh, Siobhan Robinson, Sharon Walsh and Ann Hayes, who walked the 5km Darkness into Light route in Carrick together to  raise money for the cause.   

St Molleran’s GAA Club, which ran a 48-hour walk/run marathon for Pieta House, was also invited to the ceremony.  

Mary Power of Carrick- on-Suir’s Darkness Into Light Committee said they were among 100 Darkness Into Light groups around the country and abroad  to plant trees in memory of those who died by suicide for World Mental Health Day. 

She said the tree was a symbol of support to the community and a reminder to people to reach out to others for help when they are struggling. 

“We hope that when you pass this tree you find it to be a comforting place to remember your loved one; a place to feel some hope for the future and a place to remember it’s absolutely okay not to be okay.” 

A plaque erected in front of the cherry tree declares: “You are not alone” and details the Pieta House freephone 24/7 crisis helpline and text numbers: 1800247247 and text: 51444.

Darkness Into Light Committee chairperson Karen McGrath gave a short speech and a poem called “We Remember” was recited by committee member Eddie Reade at the tree planting ceremony. 

In the run up to the event, the committee invited local people bereaved due to suicide to contribute some written words or the name of their deceased loved on a piece of paper. These were placed under the roots of the tree as it was being planted. 

Mary Power said a frame has been  erected around the Tree of Hope to allow people to tie ribbons in remembrance of deceased loved ones on the frame. A tin box filled with yellow ribbons has been left at the base of the tree. 

On behalf of the Darkness into Light Committee, she thanked John Hearn Home & Hardware for the beautiful plaque, Topline Clearys for providing the wood, John Finn for making a stand for the plaque, Carrick-on-Suir Municipal District and Johnny McGrath for his  gardening work.