£8k from Ben Finch memorial fundraiser at Carrickfergus Rugby Club

Ben Finch
Ben Finch

Following the heart-breaking loss of Ben Finch to suicide in February 2018 his peers organised an event to raise awareness of support services within Carrickfergus.

Pete Magill, a close friend of Ben, was the driving force behind the fundraiser at Carrickfergus Rugby Club, which raised £8150.

The tragic loss of Ben has had a profound effect on his family and peer group. Together they have been supportive of this event.

Ben is remembered for his warm welcoming personality, ‘give it your all’ attitude towards life and his ability to bring a smile to every face no matter what the situation.

Pete’s eagerness to ensure this initiative was a success led him to connect with South Antrim Community Network’s Suicide Prevention Development officer, Janine Gaston.

Janine said: “I have been encouraged by Pete’s enthusiasm to ensure this event not only raised a significant amount of funds for valued services but also to ensure the suicide prevention message was represented.

“We discussed the key messages he wanted to share at the event and agreed the best way to do so was by giving out the Northern Area Directory of Services for mental health, emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention along with the Lifeline contact card amongst other support information.

“It was a pleasure to support Pete in his mission to put safeguarding measures in place for this event.”

Pete extended his appreciation to all the sponsors who contributed and to the rugby club for their kind donation, continued support and hosting the event.

Pete said: “I just want to say a massive thank-you to everyone who turned up at the fundraising event, it really was amazing. This couldn’t have happened without everyone taking the time to attend and help out. I also want to say a massive thank you to all local businesses who donated to the ballot, I cannot thank you all enough and also to the people who sent donations and all the messages of support we received, we have been totally overwhelmed.

“I feel we have shared a really important message through this event and we have more plans for the future.”

Proceeds from the event will be divided between: Public Initiative for Prevention of Suicide & Self Harm, Every Life Matters, Carrickfergus Bereaved by Suicide Support Group and Barnardo’s Children and Young People Bereaved by Suicide Service.

For crisis intervention support contact Lifeline Helpline 24/7 freephone 0808 808 8000. For more information on suicide prevention contact Janine on 028 9447 8645 or email janine@southantrimcommunitynetwork.org