Limavady woman walking 5k a day in January in memory of her Dad

Simone Craig is walking 5k every day in memory of her father Jimmy Craig who died by suicide six years ago.

Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 9:54 am

The 24 years old from Limavady is raising funds for Limavady Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide (LIPS) and hoping that by telling her story, more people will be encouraged to talk about their mental health and seek help.

Simone said: “The reason I decided to do this fundraiser is because Me and my wee sister lost our daddy 6 years ago to suicide and I never ever thought that would happen. January is his birthday month and I want to do this in his memory. After a bad experience of suffering from severe mental health myself after my daddy passed I’m finally getting to where I want to be in life and want to help those that now feel the way I’ve felt.

“My daddy is from Eglinton and his name is Jimmy Craig. He has an older brother and 3 sisters. He was very well known by everyone and helped everyone the best he could. He always made sure everyone was ok, putting them before himself. He was a very sports oriented person he played for Dunverne Gardens in Eglinton and also played for North Port in Portrush. He got asked to play for Watford when he was about 17 and got accepted but he was too home sick! He never wanted to leave his family. He was the best daddy ever and we never had to want for anything. He was so funny, always joking and laughing with everyone. He always gave to charities no matter what it was for as he cared for everyone. He just was such a kind hearted person and everyone who knew him would say that. He was so well known in the town and his friends are so supportive of this fundraiser now, I’m so grateful and overwhelmed by their support.”

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Ellie-Mai with big sister Simone on their first 5k walk of January

Simone struggled with mental health issues since her fathers death and LIPS have helped her to be able to deal with these. She wants to raise money to help the organisation provide help and support for other people who are suffering and to let people know that it is okay to talk about their mental health.

She said: “Mental health problems affect so many people daily and I just want people to know that it’s ok to talk and that there is help out there for everyone no matter how big or small their problems are. Since this pandemic started with Covid it’s affected so many and has even affected people who didn’t suffer with mental health before. By doing this fundraiser my main aim is to spread awareness to everyone that it is ok not to be ok and not to be embarrassed to ask for help. I found that talking to someone can help a lot.”

Simone was joined by her sister Ellie-Mai for her first walks and she will be joined by other family members, friends and members of her Gaelic team the Wolfhounds throughout the month. She also invites people she doesn’t know personally to contact her if they would like to join her as she says that getting out for a walk and talking about things can help lessen the burden on a persons mental health.

“I hope I can help even one person realise that they’re worth so much more than their thoughts. I, for one, understand that battling with your mental health can leave you in such a dark lonely place and sometimes the way out feels never in sight. So I really want to do this to help and remind people that there always is light at the end of the tunnel and things will get better no matter how difficult things may seem. Mental health is the real pandemic these days and it needs to be dealt with more seriously,” she said.

Simone Craig and her late father Jimmy.

“It’s always the ones who seem happy and who are smiling all the time that are suffering the most. My daddy seemed like he was always so happy but deep down he wasn’t.”

The final 5k walk will take place on January 30 and Simone will be joined by a group of family and friends to walk to her fathers favourite bar - the Alexander Arms. There will be food and drink and Simone invites anyone who wishes to support LIPS to take part.

Donations for Simone’s 5k a Day on behalf of LIPS can be made here.

Anyone in distress in NI can contact Lifeline 24/7 helpline can be contacted for free on 0808 808 8000 in confidence; The Samaritans can be contacted 24/7 on 02871 265511 or Freephone 116 123 in confidence; Children can contact Childline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0800 1111 for any issue or by visiting www.childline.org.uk in confidence.

Simone with her late father Jimmy.

Anyone in distress in RoI can contact Pieta House free on 1800 247 247 or text HELP to 51444; TEXT Crisis Textline Ireland on 50808 - a free 24/7 text service; Ring Samaritans 24/7 on freephone number 116-123.

The late Jimmy Craig (right) awarded Player of the Year