Communities in London and Manchester join 200,000 others
Walkers in London and Manchester and joined with over 200,000 walkers in Ireland and worldwide for this year’s Darkness Into Light predawn 5km hike on Saturday. In London more than 1,100 people set off from the the Clayton Crown Hotel in Cricklewood for Gladstone Park for the fourth year of the event.
The walk was led by London Rose Emma Murphy-O’Connor, popular local group The Bible Code Sunday’s band members Ronan McManus and Enda Mulloy, Catherine Hennessy of icap which benefits from some of the funds raised, organisers from the Kerry Association London and staff from the Clayton Crown.
The money generated from the walk is donated to Pieta House and icap to help support their counselling services for people at risk.A cross the Republic of Ireland in some 150 locations some 150,000 people took part with an estimated further 50,000 across the world, including the UK.
The first Darkness Into Light event was in New Zealand, spreading across the world, ending in Vancouver and San Francisco. The first international walk kicked off in Christchurch, New Zealand at 7.15pm GMT on Thursday and the last walk was in Vancouver, Canada at 1pm GMT on Saturday.
In Ireland and the UK the event started at 4.14am – with the largest gathering of around 12,000 people setting off in Phoenix Park.
In Ballaghaderreen in Roscommon, population 2,000, some 700 people took part. Since it began at the Phoenix Park in 2009 when just 400 people walked in the Phoenix Park, Darkness into Light has grown into a global movement against suicide and self-harm. The main aim of the event is to get people talking about mental health and suicide. In Ireland, almost 500 people die by suicide each year.
Pieta House CEO, Brian Higgins said: “For anyone who may be suffering, who may have suicidal ideation or is engaging in self-harm, or if they feel isolated, Darkness Into Light is this phenomenal and very visible sign and gesture that your community is there to support you.
“The generosity of people who support Pieta House is incredible. It’s that whole ‘pass it on’ mentality, where people give generously for someone else’s therapy and to allow us to keep it free for everyone. None of us knows whether or when we’ll need that help or not.
“Darkness Into Light brings in about a third of our annual income and helps keep our doors open. The funds allow us to serve people better.”