Hun­dreds of pairs of shoes placed on the steps of St Peter’s Church to re­mem­ber those many loved ones lost to sui­cide each year in this coun­try

Drogheda Independent - - FRONT PAGE - BY HUBERT MUR­PHY Crowds gath­ered at St. Peter’s Church on Sun­day to mark World Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion day. Right: Marie John­ston of SOSAD.

ED­WARD Holly is the mas­ter of send­ing them home with more than a hint of hap­pi­ness and sat­is­fac­tion safely tucked away in hearts that some­times need a bit of ten­der lov­ing care.

The man be­hind the mu­sic with the St Peter’s Male Voice Choir, he was on hand to mas­ter­mind an­other mu­si­cal de­light on Sun­day - this time on the steps of St Peter’s.

To mark World Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Day, the St Peter’s Par­ish Out­reach group and SOSAD came to­gether to host a re­mem­brance af­ter­noon, which fea­tured a touch­ing tribute to those no longer with us.

350 pairs of shoes were placed on the steps, rep­re­sent­ing the many hun­dreds lost to sui­cide each year.

From speak­ers such as Paul Egan of the Out­reach Group and Marie John­son from SOSAD, the theme was for peo­ple to speak out and tell some­one about prob­lems and is­sues.

‘A gen­tle word can make all the dif­fer­ence,’ Marie re­marked, adding that there is help out there.

Paul Egan said the day was about help­ing to ‘ease the pain’ and at the same time, look at how pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures can be put in place to help those that need it most.

Archdea­con James Car­roll told a per­sonal story of how he lost a friend while liv­ing in Lon­don many years ago and how his loss stayed with him.

‘ Today is spe­cial for us, in your heart you can name him or her,’ he added, stat­ing that most of us know of some­one who died by sui­cide.

‘How frag­ile we are,’ he warned and just asked that ‘we be there for each other.’

The birth of a new Gar­den of Re­mem­brance at the Au­gus­tinian was high­lighted by Fr Colm O’Ma­hony, high­light­ing the fact that ‘com­mu­nity is at the core’ of the Shop Street church.

Dea­con John Taaffe also ex­plained the sig­nif­i­cance of the shoes and the need to re­mem­ber those gone.

The male voice choir were out­stand­ing as usual. From ‘Abide with Me’, right through to ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, they shone through the driv­ing rain by times, bright­en­ing up the dark­en­ing clouds over­head, un­til the sun glim­mered again.

But per­haps the high­light, the true in­spi­ra­tion, was Sean Tester.

With the wind rip­ping across West Street, he stood in the gale and belted out a ver­sion of ‘A Bridge Over Trou­bled Wa­ters’ as good as any. A true ge­nius.

Af­ter­wards, as a can­dle of hope was car­ried through the doors of St Peter’s, some headed to the Bar­bican for a chance to chat and meet the team from SOSAD and share any wor­ries or in­deed, just to talk.

Cer­tain days are spe­cial in this town and Sun­day last was one of them.

Drogheda cares.

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