WINTER SOLSTICE: Shine light on darkest night

Last year’s event drew a big crowd to Albury’s QEII Square. This year the evening will be held at the grounds of The Cube in Wodonga. It will be followed by a musical concert at The Cube’s theatre.

Last year’s event drew a big crowd to Albury’s QEII Square. This year the evening will be held at the grounds of The Cube in Wodonga. It will be followed by a musical concert at The Cube’s theatre.

IT’S an event no parent should have to organise.

Yet for Annette and Stuart Baker next Saturday’s Winter Solstice for Survivors of Suicide evening will be the second they have been involved with.

It won’t be the last.

Every part of the preparations is painful — from organising speakers to putting up posters — with the small but dedicated group of volunteers who make up the Survivors of Suicide and Friends committee.

Every detail is a rem-inder of the loss of their beloved daughter, Mary, who took her life three years ago when she was just 15.

But it’s also a reminder there are others in the community suffering just as they are.

Often in silence.

That’s what drives the Bakers.

And that’s why they are again inviting the Border community to join together on the longest night of the year to help shed light on the darkness of suicide.

"It requires just one person who is willing to step up to the mark."

CLICK HERE for our Pulse special on the vital role of community networking in suicide prevention.

Mr Baker said he felt it was important to maintain the continuity of the Winter Solstice event, which will be held at The Cube Wodonga this year.

“We decided it was important to give people who are struggling or who have been impacted by suicide the opportunity to come together with others in the community feeling the same way,” he said.

“The event worked really well last year and we wanted to keep that feeling but we have moved it to The Cube because it is a more intimate space and it will be easier for people to attend the concert after the formal proceedings.”

This year those attending will hear a presentation from South Australian GP Dr Graham Fleming who was awarded an Order of Australia medal this year for his work in the field of mental health and suicide prevention.

He will be joined by 2013 Queensland Rural Women’s Award winner and rural mental health advocate Alison Fairleigh, and Diana Sands, the director of the Bereaved By Suicide Centre for Intense Grief in Sydney.

There will be performances by country music star Catherine Britt as well as local musicians and dancers with Britt to perform a ticketed concert in The Cube theatre afterwards.

Their over-riding message will be one of community empowerment — that suicide prevention and support for those who have lost loved ones to suicide lies in the hands of us all.

Mr Baker said the aim of the event was to add to the understanding and knowledge of suicide and to support those who were grieving.

“But you do not need to be impacted by suicide to attend,” he said.

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