The head of PIPS Larne has paid tribute to the plucky men and women who literally walked a mile in each others’ shoes for the charity.
Chairperson and Co-ordinator of PIPS Larne Carlee Letson praised the group of around 30 people who participated in the sponsored walk through Larne town centre on Saturday, September 6.
The ‘Walk a Mile in My Shoes’ event, which raised funds for PIPS Larne’s support services and new centre at 109A Main Street, saw local men don sky-high stilettos and women wear firemen’s boots and dungarees.
Carlee told The Times: “I’m sure we raised over £1,000 although we haven’t counted it yet. The atmosphere was brilliant and it brought the community together, although it was bittersweet. The Fire Service was amazing and ASDA managers headed by Catherine McCallion also walked.”
Larne’s first citizen and his wife also donned heels and dungarees to ‘walk the walk.’ Carlee revealed: “Mayor of Larne Martin Wilson and his wife Margaret were absolutely brilliant fun. Martin was in heels and Margaret in firemen’s boots and dungarees. Not every Mayor and Mayoress would do that!”
Despite the light-hearted atmosphere, the event’s purpose was to reduce the stigma which still surrounds suicide in local communities. Carlee explained: “It’s about walking in the shoes of someone with a mental illness. People said their feet were agony and they felt really uncomfortable-that’s what it’s like living with mental illness.”When I was walking so many men came up to me in the street to tell me they were suffering from a mental illness. It’s about removing stigma and allowing people to talk, allowing their loved ones to be grieved for the same as anyone else’s.
“It’s still bereavement but a different type-there are questions left unanswered, and only the person who’s gone can answer them.”
PIPS Larne also held a white dove and balloon release for World Suicide Prevention Day on Wednesday September 10 at Broadway.