Darkness into Light has enjoyed a record year for fundraising.
The annual event brought in €7.3m for suicide prevention charity Pieta House this year.
The coronavirus pandemic meant people were not able to come together as they have in previous years; however, thousands of people got involved virtually.
The theme for this year was ‘One Sunrise Together’ – and 143,000 took part in walks, runs, cycles or swims as the sun rose on Saturday morning.
Pieta House fundraising and advocacy manager Tom McEvoy said the fundraiser was a success despite the changes.
“The funding has exceeded previous years,” he said. “This is the largest ever year in terms of funding.
“In terms of numbers and people who have registered, it is down on previous years but being honest with you, it was a different event so it is very, very difficult to compare like with like. In previous years, people attended a venue.”
Pieta House now has over 200 qualified therapists working across 20 different centres – largely funded by Darkness into Light.
The charity last year delivered over 52,000 hours of counselling, handled 70,000 crisis support contacts and directly supported over 600 households bereaved by suicide.
Organisers have thanks everyone who took part in this year’s event – braving the wet and windy weather to show their support.
Mr McEvoy said it was a great success for the charity.
“It was an unusual event for us to host this year because we couldn’t gather in the traditional settings around the country and around the world,” he said.
“So people really chose to do a challenge and even though the weather was really inclement, we managed to get lots and lots of people to enjoy a sunrise – albeit in behind the clouds – but they raised hopes and spirits because they got involved in the event this year.”
Darkness into Light has now raised around €36m since it was established in 2009.