A Galway city man will mark his 60th birthday in a unique way this summer by raising much needed funds for a suicide prevention and bereavement charity in the city.
Declan McEntee, who is originally from Mervue but now lives in Ballybane, came up with the idea of setting up the Lucky 60 Foundation after a number of people he knew “were not lucky enough” to reach that milestone.
The taxi driver with Big O Taxis vowed if he did he would celebrate the occasion in July by holding a golf tournament in aid of a charity.
He, his wife Bernie and their children Aoife, Barry and Hughie, agreed that the Renmore based charity Console would be the beneficiary. Their decision was prompted by the fact that they had known a number of young people who had taken their lives.
The Lucky 60 Foundation, which was launched at Monroe’s Tavern in Dominick Street on Monday, has now developed into a week-long series of fundraising activities. These will kick off on Sunday June 30 with a soccer tournament and will finish on Friday July 5 with a golf tournament which will be held in Cregmore, Clareglway. This event is been sponsored by Supermac’s.
Christy O’Connor Jnr is supporting this event by offering to play a game of golf with the winner of a raffle. Lines cost €5 and the game will take place later in the year. People interested in sponsoring a team of four at €120 or a tee at €100 should contact Val at (086 ) 3145235 or Declan at (087 ) 7412495.
Mr McEntee is delighted with how his fundraiser has “snowballed” into a week of events.
“There is a soccer tournament and coffee mornings to name but a few. My aim is to hand over the mantle to another person who will be 60 next year whether it be for a golf tournament or darts tournament or even a raffle, and that the proceeds will go to Console Galway.”
Console, the national suicide organisation, was established in 2002 by Paul Kelly after he lost his 21-year-old sister Sharon to suicide. The charity responds to the needs of people bereaved by suicide as well as those who are suicidal within the community. Console promotes positive mental health in an effort to reduce the high number of attempted suicides and deaths through suicide.
The charity - its Galway centre was set up in 2005 - supports people in suicidal crisis and those bereaved by suicide through professional counselling, support and helpline services. It also has centres in Cork, Limerick, Kerry, Athlone, Wexford, Mayo and Kildare.
Calls to the local centre’s helpline have trebled in the past four years, according to Margaret Tierney, its project development manager. She stresses that all funds raised locally are spent on services in the community.