The Tree of Remembrance in Derry is now open and organisers expect it to be covered in yellow ribbons from now until Christmas Eve in memory of an estimated 10,000 local people who have passed away.
Three local charities, AWARE, Foyle Foodbank and Foyle Hospice will benefit from the funds raised at the Tree of Remembrance this year.
Mayor John Boyle officially launched the Tree of Remembrance by attaching the first ribbon to the tree. He said: “It’s a lovely way to remember a loved one by tying a ribbon on the tree in their memory and the tree will stand proudly in the heart of our city centre this December.“
All three charities said they were honoured to have been selected. Foyle Hospice Chief Executive, Donall Henderson, said: “This year is particularly significant for Foyle Hospice as we embark on building our hopes and aspirations for future hospice and palliative care service provision through our three year strategy. We greatly appreciate the continued support and generosity of the local community in our mission to provide compassionate palliative care to individuals with a life limiting illness, their families and carers through high quality, specialist, holistic support.”
James McMenamin from the Foyle Foodbank said :“We hope that one day there will be no need for a Foodbank in the city, but whilst our help is needed we will ensure people referred receive a non-judgmental welcome, space to be heard and the best support possible.”
Bernard Mc Ananey, Chairperson at AWARE said: “AWARE is the Depression charity for Northern Ireland and we offer a number of services in the local area including our three support groups which are a weekly service helping people with depression and bipolar disorder. A Derry born charity, we deliver mental health and wellbeing programmes into schools, communities and workplaces throughout the North West.”
John McMonagle, organiser, said: “Through the Tree of Remembrance, every penny donated will go to AWARE, Foyle Foodbank and the Foyle Hospice, supporting the vital work they do for our community throughout the year. But this Tree is more than just fundraising. Most of us have lost loved ones and feel the need at times to commemorate that and dedicate a little time for remembrance, so that it brings us some degree of comfort to our busy lives at a time of year that can be difficult for many.
“We are very grateful for the generous support of Foyleside Shopping Centre, local businesses, schools and the public in this important venture and I would encourage everyone to call at the tree and remember their loved ones by completing a ribbon. I also invite everyone along on Christmas Eve at 12.30pm where the four main church leaders in the city will hold a service to remember all those whose names are on the Tree.”