The family of a Coleraine woman who suffered depression before her untimely death earlier this year has called on the local public to support a two-day fundraising walk in her memory.
Mum of two, Clare Barclay (35), from Newbridge Park, died on February 7 this year after losing her battle with depression.
Her family has now organised Clare’s Causeway Challenge 2011 in the hope of publicising the illness and also to raise much needed funds for the local support group, Aware Defeat Depression.
Clare’s sister, Angie, admitted that the family were still devastated at the loss of Clare but wanted to do something positive to honour her memory and also encourage others who suffer anxiety and depression to talk about their problems. She says the key is to seek help, even if it is a small group, just don’t keep it to yourself.
Joining Angie on the walk will be sisters Stevie and Paula, brother David and their mother, Pauline. Clare’s husband, David and their daughters Molly (6) and Grace (8), will also take part.
The walking challenge will be held over two days. On Saturday, September 17 participants will walk from Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge to Giant’s Causeway (11 miles) while on the next day the route will be from the Giant’s Causeway to Ballyleese (15 miles) – poignantly where Clare spent the last moments of her life.
Angie said: “The area meant a lot to Clare, she just loved the scenery and the natural beauty of the Causeway Coast.
“On the second day we will be having a raffle at Ballyleese and an eco friendly balloon release.”
“We did not know the extent of Clare’s depression,” admits Angie. “She had found a doctor she liked, he understood her and she was taking medication.
“Clare had been involved with Aware Defeat Depression, in fact she was top recruiter on the Aware Defeat Depression page on Facebook, she still is.
“Alison Smyth who is the Head of Fundraising and PR Manager in Londonderry had spoken to Clare before Christmas. Alison wanted Clare to work alongside Aware for the Lottery funded Well Being Programme to be held in Londonderry.”
Alison said: “Clare was inspiring to talk to, she understood what people needed having been there herself”.
Clare’s sister, Stevie, explained: “Clare’s vision was to start workshops, using the application of art to maintain and promote well being. She wanted to help other people who were in a similar situation and make them take time out for themselves”.
“I remember Clare saying that there is something therapeutic about art. You don’t have to have any talent, you just indulge yourself and it takes you away from your problems and offers a diversion.
“Clare had completed a course with Causeway Enterprise Agency and then set up her own business Sparkly Barclay which provided temporary airbrush body and art tattoos.
“She never ceased to amaze us with her expertise and charm. She would talk to her clients about her depression and through her opening up they did too.
“Sometimes they would be in tears. Clare wanted to help others so much, because she completely understood what they were going through. People might have brushed it under the carpet and not spoken about it.”
Angie said that the idea for Clare’s Causeway Challenge came from an article by Local Women in November last year. She had a photo taken picture taken beside a sculpture on the River Bann. The idea of the walk began to evolve when Paula noticed that the sculpture looked like three C’s.
Angie explained: “Stevie then said: ‘Clare, Creative, Caring’. Gary Tosh mentioned Causeway, then I came up with Challenge. The walk would coincide with Clare’s birthday on September 13.
“This is where Gary helped us put together a more structured walk over two days. We’ve been planning this since the end of May. Through Gary’s previous experience and our passion to do something in memory of our sister, we couldn’t have made a better team.
“There were so many things our little sister was involved with, so many lives she touched, so many she helped. Clare was creative, caring, funny, she knew what she wanted.”
“In September Stevie and I are following in Clare’s footsteps, by attending a course at the Causeway Enterprise Agency to help us start up our own business, where we want to continue Clares dream. We know Clare would have wanted that,” added Angie
Registration will be from 9.30am each day with both walks beginning at 11am. The fee, which is £10 per person, can be paid on the day.
Refreshments will be served afterwards at the Causeway School on the Saturday and Ballyleese on the Sunday.
Online donations can also be made at www.justgiving.com/Clare-Barclay.
“We have already raised over £500 and we hope to raise much more. It is an extremely worthy cause aimed at raising awareness for the local people,” Angie said.
Sponsorship forms are available to download at www.aware-ni.org
“Also, on Saturday, September 10, a week prior to the walk, we are having a coffee morning at Coleraine Christian Centre at 10am to meet up with whoever wants to do the walk, to get to know each other and exchange names etc. Aware Defeat Depression will attend.
“Aware will be on hand with help and support for anyone having to deal with the effects of this terrible illness and anyone that wishes to come for coffee and a chat is most welcome to do so.
For more information contact Angie on 07549030348, Stevie 07814930067 or Gary 07547391919.