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Some Kilkenny hurling greats are taking part in a 24-hour cycle for suicide awareness

Organiser John Flynn chats to The42 about the upcoming event.

Former Kilkenny hurler Tommy Walsh is one of the people taking part in the event.
Former Kilkenny hurler Tommy Walsh is one of the people taking part in the event.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

A 24-HOUR cycle to promote suicide awareness, featuring several former Kilkenny hurlers, will take place tomorrow.

The event, which begins at 4pm at the Town Hall in Kilkenny City, will feature a number of former players, including JJ Delaney, Tommy Walsh and Martin Comerford, while many more “special guests” have been promised.

Members of the fire brigade and the Defence Forces will also take part in the around-the-clock charity cycle, which has been organised in conjunction with the Thomas Hayes Trust.

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(The Defence Forces will be among those participating in the event)

The Trust was set up by the Hayes family after mother Angela and one of her sons, Alan, told their story on The Late Late Show last year, explaining how the family have been affected by suicide.

“So many people in Ireland have been touched by suicide, so we decided to do something like this. I became friendly with Angela and said I’d do something to help,” the event’s organiser, John Flynn, tells The42.

Flynn adds that it was “no hassle” getting well-known figures like Walsh and Delaney on board, and describes how people will take turns cycling over the course of the allotted 24-hour time period.

“I’ll be doing three to five during the night,” he says. “A lot of the lads who cycle it would be very good athletes. The majority of people would be doing it for an hour or an hour and a half… It won’t be overly taxing, but it’s something to give back.

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The prizes being auctioned at the event include rugby and soccer jerseys with the signatures of Brian O’Driscoll and Martin O’Neill respectively, as well as a singlet signed by some of Irish boxing’s top names.

In addition, Flynn, who is hopeful that the cycle will become an annual event, says its message is clear.

“It’s alright not to be alright,” he says. “It’s just about getting out and not being afraid to talk about it. Depression is a stigma in Irish society, but in this day and age, it shouldn’t be.”

For more info on the Thomas Hayes Trust, click here. You can also follow them on Twitter here.

If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this article, please contact one of the following helplines:

  • Samaritans 116123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634
  • Console 1800 201 890
  • Aware 1890 303 302
  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66

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Paul Fennessy

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