A Rathcoole mum-of-three will be joined by dozens of family members and friends as she sets off on a 10-mile charity walk this weekend.
Kerry Lockhart has organised the sponsored walk in memory of her daughter, Abbie, who was stillborn on March 27 last year.
The 29-year-old will be accompanied by more than 60 family and friends on the sponsored walk, which is due to take place on Saturday, March 22.
The group will be collecting money for Sands - the stillbirth and neonatal death charity - as part of Kerry’s fundraising campaign, Abbie’s Angels.
Mayor Fraser Agnew will wish the walkers well as they set off from The Diamond at 10am. They will make their way along the Shore Road into the city centre where they will be welcomed to Belfast City Hall by Deputy Mayor Christopher Stalford.
The walkers will be carrying buckets to collect donations along the way. And once in Belfast they will be splitting up into smaller groups, completing different routes around the city centre in a bid to secure more donations from shoppers.
Kerry, with help from family and friends, has already raised hundreds of pounds for Sands. She held a fundraising night in the Eastway Social Club on February 8, collecting around £400. And she’s hoping the sponsored walk will raise another £1,000 to help Sands support bereaved families and fund vital research.
“I had a really traumatic pregnancy with Abbie and she was stillborn at 23 weeks and four days, so I want to raise money in memory of her, but to help other families,” Kerry explained.
“I also want to raise awareness. I’d never heard of it (Sands) before what happened to me last year, but they helped me so much through my experience and I just want to give something back.”
Deputy Mayor Dineen Walker, whose eight-year-old son, Stuart, died in 1996 after being knocked down on the O’Neill Road, will be among those taking part in the walk.
The DUP councillor, whose daughter went to school with Kerry, said she is glad to be supporting such a worthy cause.
“I’ve known Kerry for years and I wanted to help and support her,” she told the Times.
“I know what it feels like to lose a child. It’s not easy. It doesn’t matter what age your child is when they die, it’s still hard as all your hopes and dreams for the future are gone.
“I’m actually looking forward to doing the walk. There are 64 of us doing it and we are hoping for good weather.”
Wishing Kerry and her fellow walkers well, Carolyn Bray, Fundraising Manager with Sands, said: “The generous efforts of our fundraisers never fails to amaze us. We would like to wish Kerry, who is walking in memory of her daughter Abbie, and everyone else involved lots of luck.”
Sands operates throughout the UK, providing bereavement support and funding research to help save babies’ lives.
For more information log on to www.uk-sands.org