IN excess of 4,000 people walked from Darkness into Light in Waterford on Saturday morning for Pieta House’s flagship annual fundraiser.
In the absence of a final tally, figures suggest that the amount raised this year is upwards of €50,000. However, there are plenty of collection buckets that still have to be counted.
In the darkness of Saturday morning crowds dressed in yellow t-shirts gathered at the RSC for the 4.15am start time. Among them was Waterford’s Rose of Tralee, Kirsten Mate Maher, whose chosen charity is Pieta House.
In heart-warming scenes across Waterford thousands of people embarked on the 5km walk and run from the RSC in the city and from St Augustine’s College (The Friary) in Dungarvan.
They joined hundreds of thousands of people around the world who came together to help Pieta House in the global fight against suicide and self-harm.
Participants were met along the route across city streets with messages of hope. Emergency and voluntary services also gave comfort and reassurance to participants as they made their way through the city. Members of the Waterford City River Rescue and Waterford Marine Search and Rescue patrolled the River Suir as participants passed by. The huge crowd remained silent for one kilometre as they made their way past the lit up Pieta House at the Waterside to remember those who died by suicide.
As dawn broke young and old, women, men and children, made their way across the finish line at the RSC.
Olive Ruane, Pieta House’s fundraising co-ordinator for the South East, said there was a “phenomenal turn-out” in Waterford and across the South East. She said there was a flurry of activity on Friday with people registering to take part in the walk, while others contributed to the cause on the day. Nationally, the numbers who registered increased incrementally each day in the run up to the fundraiser. She said people in Waterford were very generous with plenty of collection buckets still to be counted, adding that they are also very grateful to all the corporate sponsors. The continued support of Electric Ireland means that all the money raised will go directly into the vital service. Overall, Olive said the fundraiser was very well supported in Waterford. In particular, she said she was in awe of the committees and volunteers who “gave voluntarily their time” to the event.
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