Ex-Claudy college pupils in reunion charity effort

'Class of 98'... St Patrick's & St Brigid's pupils, including Seany O'Kane, far left.
'Class of 98'... St Patrick's & St Brigid's pupils, including Seany O'Kane, far left.

Ex-pupils of a Co. Derry school celebrating their 20 year reunion this weekend are aiming to raise money for a suicide prevention charity.

The ‘Class of 98’ of St Patrick’s & St Brigid’s College, Claudy, will get together this Saturday and will, as part of their anniversary celebrations, try to raise as much as they can for the Me4Mental charity.

One of the reunion organisers, Seany O’Kane, says the Class of 98 was a “close-knit group” but, unfortunately, in the past two decades “we have lost several pupils due to very unfortunate circumstances from tragic accidents to suicide”.

He adds: “After some reflection, we felt it would be unjust to not acknowledge those that have passed and, therefore, want to make the event a real force for good.

“We would like to raise money for a charity that strives and works hard for suicide prevention.”

‘Me4Mental’, says Seany, is a volunteer group which relies on public contributions.

Its chairperson, Patricia Flanagan, will be at Saturday’s event to thank all those who have contributed donations to raffle in aid of the charity.

Seany O’Kane adds: “We’re appealing for donations to raffle at the event, the proceeds of which will go to Me4Mental. The work they carry out is invaluable.

“Our young men are dying at an alarming rate and we desperately need as much help as possible to offer interventions.”

The growing suicide rate in Ireland is, says Seany O’Kane, very worrying.

“In 2017, there were more than 7,000 suicides registered in Ireland and Britain, cementing suicide as the leading cause of death amongst males, from age 5 to 45.”