Derry girls to go silent for 24 hours to raise funds for Foyle Women’s Aid.
Treasa Harkin, Michelle Elliott, Emma McKinney, Aoibheann Gillespie-Mules, Colleen Coulter, Jenny Mc Callion and Connie Gerrow - who is from Ballymoney, but is an ‘honorary Derry Girl’ will take on the challenge on May 16.
The idea for the fundraiser was put forward by Treasa Harkin, an IT consultant who is living in London, during her ‘virtual hen party’ via Zoom.
Treasa’s hen party was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, but her kind friends held a surprise one for her via Zoom, with Michelle Elliot cycling to her flat before hand and - while Treasa was at the shop - decorating it with balloons and hen party paraphernalia.
Treasa told the Journal that while she was disappointed her hen party trip had to be cancelled, she saw the bigger picture.
“I had saw the news and read articles on how there has been so much domestic violence at this time and the concerns about it. I thought to myself:’ How can I be sad about a cancelled hen party whenever this is happening to some people? I really wanted to do something to help. A lot of my friends are doing cycles or runs and I’m not sporty in the slightest - but I do talk a lot! I thought of doing a sponsored silence and I mentioned it during the hen party on Zoom. The girls then said they would do it with me.’
The sponsored silence will take place from 12pm on Saturday and includes a band on texting, which ‘will make it that bit harder’.
The women all live in different areas, with Treasa and Michelle in London, Colleen in Hampshire, Aoibheann in the Phillipines, Emma and Jenny in Belfast.
The women set up a Just Giving page for the sponsored silence, with an initial target of £1000, which they have already surpassed. As the Journal went to press the total stood at over £2,400.
“We made it in less than 24 hours, which we were delighted about. The target is now £3000 and we’re hoping to be able to reach it. We’re very grateful for every donation.”
Treasa said they chose Foyle Women’s Aid as the recipient of the funds as they do ‘such brilliant work.’
“They are a voice and support to so many people and we are happy to help them in any way we can.”
Treasa was due to marry her fiancé, David, on August 6 but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been cancelled and a new date set for April next year.
She said while it was ‘disappointing’ to have to cancel ‘everyone is in the same boat and we’ll get there.’
You can support the fundraiser by logging on to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/foylewomensaidsponsoredsilence
Since the beginning of the lockdown there have been a reported almost 2000 domestic abuse calls made to police in the first week of April in the north.