A Newtownabbey woman has thanked the public for their generosity after she held a fundraising event to support a local mental health charity.
Elaine McKee organised a Strictly Come Dancing event in the Nortel Social Club to raise funds for PIPS.
PIPS provides support to individuals who are considering, or who have at some point considered, ending their own life.
It also offers support for families who have been touched by suicide.
Elaine, who is currently receiving counselling with the charity, decided to raise funds for the worthy cause because it is close to her heart.
In total £10,371.49 was raised for the charitable organisation through the Strictly event on Saturday, September 3 and fundraising efforts beforehand.
Speaking to the Times, Elaine said: “I am very thankful that the people of the area have supported this very worthy cause. Over 250 tickets were sold for the event and it is overwhelming.
“The amount of money people were spending on ballots throughout the evening was outstanding and I really can’t believe how generous everyone was.
“The event would not have been a success without the help of the whole team who supported me - everyone deserves a massive thank you.
“I’d also like to thank the Standard (Nortel Social Club) as they have been so good to me and were very accommodating. I was overwhelmed when the club committee presented me with a bouquet of flowers.”
The well-supported event attracted 12 participants, some of whom had experienced mental health issues throughout their lives.
One of the competitors, Claire Bannatyne, was the main reason why Elaine decided to donate all of the funds to PIPS. Elaine added: “Claire is my friend and is really an inspiration. She told me that PIPS had saved her life and I picked them to be the recipients of the donations to support her and people like her.
“A number of the dancers have underlying health issues and in the run-up to the Strictly night, Claire experienced a few low points, but she didn’t let her illness beat her and she ended up finishing second on the night.
“I have suffered with anxiety from my teenage years and it was very frightening. I still have good days and bad days, but I now know how to handle it. No mental illness ever leaves you, you just develop ways of coping with it.”
If you would like to make a donation to PIPS, you can do so through Elaine’s JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/pipsmentalhealth