An inspiring day was had by many who took part in the Float for Hope Boat Run which took place over the course of the sunny weekend.
The successful event was organised by a team of local people who are involved with Gemma’s Legacy of Hope, a foundation that was set up following the tragic death of local girl Gemma Boyle, just a few years ago.
The weekend's event showed that no matter how bad things get there is hope and support available locally.
The inaugural and unique Float for Hope event, which was held on Sunday, took place on a sunny day, when the sea sparkled and everyone came together in support of one another.
United they sailed
The boats sailed from Burtonport to Arranmore and on to Tory Island and back via the Donegal Islands. The boat run was captured beautifully by Michael Boyle - his video portrays the spirit of the day with boats making their way from one island to another, where everyone came together united for one common reason - to support those who feel they have nowhere to turn.
People from Burtonport, Dungloe and all the neighbouring villages have felt the impact of suicides in their area in recent weeks, months and years and were happy to come together and support the event on Sunday.
Local man at the helm
The tragedies inspired a local man, John Joe McBride, to do his utmost to highlight the issue. He felt it was important to create a Mental Health Awareness Day for the entire community along with his cousin Seamus McBride and a team of local volunteers involved with Gemma’s Legacy of Hope.
The aim of this day was to promote Mental Health Awareness locally in west Donegal and to raise funds to continue to help fund additional counselling services and support the ongoing counselling services available in the office secured by Gemma’s Legacy for Hope, in Dungloe.
Clear message of support to community
Former MEP and TD, Pat the Cope Gallagher said over the years and especially in more recent times, their small communities have been devastated by the number of young people that have taken their own lives.
"Families have had to suffer the devastation of this silent killer disease, and we now as one community need to stand in solidarity as one and to let everyone hear, very loud and clear, that there are listening ears and supports available to anyone who may be suffering in silence, right here on our doorstep.
"It’s unfortunately too late for those that have gone, may their souls rest in peace and our hearts go out to their families. If we can set out to save a life or lives from here on, this event will be worth it,” he said.
Blessing of the boats
Local priests, Fr Pat Ward and Fr John Joe Duffy along with the Burtonport Choir performed a Blessing of The Boats and Blessing of The Candles ceremony at Burtonport pier at 12.30pm before the boats set sail.
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