Service To Remember 'The Sad, Silent Stories'

Monday 2nd August 2004 - Newsletter

Families who have lost loved ones through suicide will attend a cross-community service in Belfast this evening.

The event has been organised as part of the New Lodge Festival in partnership with PIPS - a communitybased group set up by Phillip McTaggart, whose 17-yearold son took his own life.

Festival organiser Irene Sherry said: "This year so much hard work has been carried out by a body of volunteers helping to support not only grieving families but also families living with the trauma of their child having self-harmed or having thought of it.

"No one knows the sleepless nights or unspoken tears of the countless numbers of those affected."

Earlier this year, north Belfast was rocked by a series of suicides among young people.

"This event has been designed to tackle the issue head on," said Ms Sherry. "Anything we can do to support PIPS, we will do. While the festival is about having fun and enjoying ourselves, as a community we also have to deal with serious issues.

"Suicide has affected so many people in north Belfast and I would pay tribute to the volunteers who have been working so hard and given so much of their time and energy to organise events."

Ms Sherry said this evening's service - which is invitation only - would be a focal point for families.

"Nobody knows the silent stories of all these people and I think it will be a very emotional occasion. I don't think there will be a dry eye in the house," Ms Sherry added.

Former Fame Academy pupil Sinead Quinn will perform at the Celebration of Life service, along with the Dublin Gospel Choir.