Numbers triple for Pieta walk

Geralding Bigler from Portarlington with her dog at the Darkness into Light walk in Mountmellick, for suicide counselling service Pieta House.
Three times as many people have registered online for the Laois Darkness into Light 5k walk this Saturday at 4.15am in Mountmellick, compared to the same time last year.

Three times as many people have registered online for the Laois Darkness into Light 5k walk this Saturday at 4.15am in Mountmellick, compared to the same time last year.

Walkers may just be getting more familiar with the online registration, but organiser John Nelson is preparing for up to 1,000 participants in the uplifting walk for Pieta House.

“We had 800 participants last year and we are expecting bigger numbers. We are urging people to come as early as possible, as we are closing registration at 3.45am. There will be lots of entertainment before the walk, with a zumba warmup and music,” he said.

An extra carpark has been made available at Supervalu, from which participants can walk to the start line at Mountmellick GAA Club. There is also parking at the club, and beside it in Mountmellick cemetery carkpark.

“We are still looking for people to help park cars before the start, they can still take part in the walk, just contact me,” said John.

In its fourth year in Mountmellick, the walk is one of 80 across Ireland and beyond, that take place as dawn breaks, to symbolise the journey from the darkness of depression into the light.

The money raised supports free counselling offered to anyone experiencing suicidal or self harm thoughts, at Pieta House centres nationwide.

“For anyone coming for the first time, it is a great experience, to feel the positive energy of people, doing zumba dancing at 4am in the morning, laughing and having fun. For many affected by suicide it is also a time to share their stories and remember their loved ones,” John said.

Candles and lanterns will line the route, which takes a river of yellow t-shirted participants around the town and back for refreshments.

A memory tree will be hung with personal messages, and they can also be written on a ‘banner of hope’.

Call John at 087 3275527.