Hundreds show support for second Walk of Hope event from South Shields aiming to break down stigma around mental health

Hundreds of people have shown their support for the second Walk of Hope which aims to raise awareness of mental health.

Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 5:45 pm
From left Amy Gibson, Lyla Gibson, 10, Anna Shields, organiser Angie Comerford, Sarah Weavers and Callum Comerford, six.

The event has been organised for a second year running by Angie Comerford, the co-founder of charity Hebburn Helps, and will see participants pay tribute to loved ones lost through suicide.

Angie, from Walsh Avenue, Hebburn, tragically lost her dad Brian Hannigan at the age of just 60.

He had battled severe depression, which caused him to take his own life, and Angie herself has struggled to cope with depression for the past 20 years.

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Angie Comerford has organised a second Walk of Hope in memory of loved ones. From left Amy Gibson, Anna Shields, Lyla Gibson, ten, organiser Angie Comerford, Callum Comerford, six, and Sarah Weavers.

The 42-year-old held the first Walk of Hope in 2018 to pay tribute to her dad and break down the stigma around mental health.

And after issuing a call for more people to come along and show their support, Angie has said she has been overwhelmed by the amount of backing shown on the event’s Facebook page.

More than 300 people have liked the Walk of Hope 2019 Facebook page and expressed an interest in taking part.

On the response, Angie said: “I’m over the moon about the response I’ve had but that will no way mean all of them will be coming.

“I do believe there’ll be a hell of a lot more than last year when there was 16.”

Those taking part in the event will light candles at the Angel of the North and spell out the word ‘hope’ in fairy lights before they take time to remember loved ones.

The walk, which is separate from the Hebburn Helps charity, is expected to take around three and a half hours.

Anyone wanting to take part can turn up on the day or get in touch in advance via the Walk of Hope Facebook page.

Angie said: “The aim is to raise awareness of mental health as there is still a massive stigma around it.

“It is to get the message out to people that they are not alone and to never lose hope.”