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Walk Of Unity
A grieving Lanarkshire mum has brought an iconic event helping those affected by suicide to Scotland for the first time.
The Darkness Into Light walk will see participants gather by candlelight on the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow at first light.
Organisers say they want to bring hope and unity to all those affected by the suicide or self-harm of a loved one.
Mum-of-three Anne Rowan, of New Stevenston, told how she became involved following the tragic death of her beloved son Christopher.
Anne decided to rally a group of friends, who are all from Lanarkshire and have been affected by suicide of a close family member, to bring the dawn walks to Scotland.
Simultaneous events will be held in Glasgow and Aberdeen on May 9 and Anne hopes thousands will attend.
She said she first learned about the event – first held in venues in Ireland in 2009 – through a friend of her son Christopher who tragically took his life in 2011.
Anne, said: “Christopher was my eldest son and we were very close. Every anniversary is painful. Mother’ Day is heart-breaking. Christopher was 36 when he took his life."
“I would never want any family to go through what we have gone through.
“Suicide is a unique grief – it brought a guilt factor, such overwhelming grief, and as a mum you feel you should have seen it coming.
“I spent two years shut down in denial and shock and even moved house.”
She added: “Christopher’s friend lives in Northern Ireland and brought the Darkness Into Light walks to my attention.
“The numbers of those affected by suicide and self-harm in Scotland are absolutely horrendous and I thought the walks could bring a lot of good here.
“They are organised by Pieta House, who run suicide and self-harm refuges and counselling services in Ireland.
“So I contacted them and asked why the walks weren’t held in Scotland.
“They said they had to be invited – and that I should form a committee if I wanted to bring the walk here.
“I called a group of friends who have all been affected by suicide and we agreed we wanted to take it forward.
“We formed our committee of six Lanarkshire women and we are filled with great hope over what the event can achieve.
“The walk will take place first thing in the morning.
“It will be candlelit by the River Clyde and it will be emotional – but we feel it is something worth doing.
“It’s a walk of unity and togetherness – we want to show people there is hope. It costs a few pounds to register and raises funds for Scottish charities and Pieta House.
“What we all want is to reduce the numbers of cases of suicide and self-harm.
“The reasons people do these things are complex and varied – it’s rarely straightforward.
“We want to educate and publicise and de-stigmatise the whole issue of suicide and self-harm - and tell people they can get better if they have mental health problems.”
All the walks are a distance of 5km with the Glasgow event beginning at 4am at Congress Road beside the Finnieston Crane at the SECC.
Walkers head into the city centre crossing the Tradeston Bridge and walking through Govan before finishing back at the Finnieston Crane.