A Larne man is poised to take to the skies as he prepares to complete a fundraising sky dive for PIPS Larne in memory of the friend he lost to suicide.
Daredevil Alan Hall will undertake the white knuckle challenge on November 14 in memory of Martin “Strimmer” Kennedy, who passed away last August.
Alan is aiming to raise a total of £700 to support PIPS Larne’s work and raise awareness of suicide, and has already collected £300 for the cause.
“There is such a high rate of suicide, particularly among young men, and some people are scared to say anything as they fear it will be perceived as a weakness,” Alan told the Times.
“I married into the family of Martin’s fiancée, and we would have seen each other at a lot of family events.
“It really affected the family when Martin committed suicide.
“No-one even realised he was feeling that way.”
Alan, who is one of the coaches of Larne Youth Under 14s team, knows how important it is to seek help for mental health issues.
“My mum died when I was six and I had counselling, then just before my second child was born I went to counselling again,” he revealed.
“Counselling has helped me to deal with it.
“When I am with the boys training I keep an eye on how they are, and I would like to think if they were having a difficult time they could speak to me.
“There isn’t the same stigma attached to depression nowadays and organisations like PIPS do a fantastic job.
“I would urge anyone who is having difficulties to contact PIPS Larne to use their services, or just to talk to a friend or family member,” he concluded.
Martin Kennedy’s father Martin Longmore added: “I want to thank Alan for his fundraising efforts.
“This money will help PIPS and hopefully help other families avoid what we have been through.
To donate to Alan’s fundraising effort, visit “Alan Hall’s leap of faith” fundraising page on the Justgiving website.
To contact PIPS Large, telephone 07530 797716.