Charlie Bird Gives Emotional Speech For Darkness Into Light

Announcer Charlie Bird led the Bray walk for the Pieta House Darkness Into Light event this morning, encouraging attendees to “live life to the fullest.”

Two thousand people took to the streets in the town of Co Wicklow with Mr Bird, who has motor neuron disease, and addressed the crowd at a bandstand using a special speech device.

Tens of thousands of people took part in hundreds of Darkness Into Light Saturday morning.  Photo: INPHO/James Crombie

Tens of thousands of people took part in hundreds of Darkness Into Light Saturday morning. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie

In a speech on Twitter, Charlie said he knew in the LGBT community that he had lost two loved ones to suicide, one of whom was homophobic about bullying.

He praised the event organizers and everyone who took to the streets to support the cause.

“The Darkness in to Light walk is a powerful statement of support for anyone who finds themselves in a dark place and I applaud the work of Pieta House. And while I have my own struggles, I will continue to extend the hand of friendship and support Pieta’s work.”

Mr Bird said at his own recent “Climb with Charlie” event one of the candles he lit in the church at the top of Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo was for those affected by any kind of struggle.

Prior to the walk, participants hold a candle at Malahide Castle in Co Dublin.  Photo: INPHO/Tom Maher

Prior to the walk, participants hold a candle at Malahide Castle in Co Dublin. Photo: INPHO/Tom Maher

“Those who are in dark places and have their own mountains to climb. You never know when you are sitting or standing next to someone who is in a dark place. In my own life I have known a number of people who have died by suicide and I have learned first hand the importance of Pieta House’s work.”

The event this morning marked the first “personal” Darkness Into Light walk in Bray in three years due to the pandemic.

An estimated 120,000 people took part in the annual 5km walk in aid of Pieta House early Saturday in various locations across the country.

People pass through Malahide Castle in Co Dublin this morning as part of the Darkness Into Light walk.  Photo: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

People pass through Malahide Castle in Co Dublin this morning as part of the Darkness Into Light walk. Photo: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Cafes opened early in many parts of the country as a show of solidarity with the walkers and the charity.

In Bettystown, Co Meath, the owner of a local Centers, asked Patrick Boshell to donate the money raised for his shop – after it was destroyed by fire over the holiday weekend – to charity.

Since 2006, Pieta House has mentored more than 60,000 people and established fifteen centers across Ireland.

The annual early morning walk has humble origins.

In 2009, in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, 400 people gathered for the first Darkness Into Light to raise money for Pieta.

As a result, the movement has grown year on year and now takes place across five continents.

The Pieta House 24 Hour Free Crisis Helpline is available every day on 1800 247 247 or Text HELP 51444 (standard rates apply) if you or someone you know is in crisis, has thoughts of suicide, is committing suicide or has suffered a death from suicide.

To make an appointment or discuss a scheduled appointment, members of the public may contact 0818 111 126 without a referral.

Donations can be made to Pieta House at https://www.pieta.ie/support-our-work/donate/

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