Colin Tait, left, and his cousin, Clarke Gardiner, making sure their vintage Massey Ferguson 135 is ready for its fundraising trip around the Donegal section of the Wild Atlantic Way
A Convoy farmer is to travel the highways and byways of Donegal's beautiful Wild Atlantic Way coastline over six days next month to help raise funds for the suicide and self-harm prevention charity, Pieta House.
The September 6-11 trip will see Colin Tait borrow his cousin Clarke Gardiner’s vintage Massey Ferguson 135 for the journey.
He has been motivated to undertake the challenge by overcoming his own personal challenges with depression and hearing of tragedies in his own area brought on by after-effects from Covid on individuals.
“Covid has been very difficult for everyone and lots of families have have lost loved ones to it and also to suicide because of lockdowns, less social interaction or not seeing family or friends over the past 18 months,” he said.
“Depression is affecting many people and more help is necessary in our county to try and help people and prevent more suicides.
“In my area three young men took their lives in the space of a few weeks in June and left families devastated
“Depression is no stranger to me as I have suffered from it, had a breakdown, had suicidal thoughts and suffered from panic attacks over 20 years ago.
“It is a very scary thing to go through - the loneliness, the fear, the panic attacks, the isolation and the shame I felt of feeling the way I did all took its toll. I had to leave my part-time job in my local mart for a period of time as I just couldn't cope with it anymore.
“As a farmer even the basic farm work proved too much for me. The only place I felt safe was my bedroom - there I could escape the stresses and strains of life. I couldn't even attend my church, beforehand I rarely missed a service.
“Thankfully one thing stuck with me. A verse Jesus said to his followers: ‘I will never leave you’. This brought me great comfort and although at times God seemed far away, I knew he was close, helping me through this very difficult period in my life.”
With help from his wife, Caroline and their two young children, family friends, his Minister, GP who put him on antidepressant medication and organised counselling at the hospital, he gradually started to feel better and was able to get on with life and get back to Church services.
“After a few years, I managed to stop taking my medication, for which I am truly thankful to God for.
“Being depressed is a frightening, dark, lonely experience but please do remember you are not alone. There is no problem that can't be overcome.
“If you notice anyone struggling with life, take time to listen to them and get them the support or help they need,” he said.
Colin has set up a Facebook page called Colin’s Massey Adventure where people can find the link to donate.
As a start to the fundraiser his family plan to have a Garden Bake Sale at their home in Calhame, Convoy on Saturday, August 21 from 11am to 2pm and everyone is welcome. Covid social distance guidelines will apply.
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