Winter Solstice for Survivors of Suicide books country star Catherine Britt

Catherine Britt

Catherine Britt

COUNTRY music star Catherine Britt will headline this year’s Winter Solstice for Survivors of Suicide event in Wodonga next month.

The June 21 community gathering, held on the longest night of the year to shed light on the darkness of suicide, will be held at The Cube Wodonga.

It follows last year’s inaugural event at QEII Square in Albury which attracted more than 600 people and was addressed by former Australian of the Year Patrick McGorry.

Survivors of Suicide (SOS) committee spokesman Stuart Baker said yesterday it was important to maintain the event’s continuity to support those in the community who had lost friends or family to suicide.

“We want to be a constant on this day each year for people surviving suicide,” the former Albury mayor said.

“We want to keep the feeling from last year but we have moved to the The Cube because its indoor and outdoor components suit the format for this year.”

The evening will have a distinctly rural theme with a new line-up of speakers including South Australian GP Graham Fleming who was awarded an Order of Australia medal this year for his work in the field of mental health and suicide prevention.

Alison Fairleigh is the North Queensland co-ordinator of Living Proof, a mental illness education program for rural and regional schools.

Diana Sands is a director of the Bereaved By Suicide Centre for Intense Grief in Sydney.

At the conclusion of the formal proceedings, Britt will perform in the 400-seat theatre supported by the Border’s own Korey Livy.

Mr Baker said three-time Golden Guitar winner Britt was a “great fit” for the evening and should prove a big drawcard.

“We are hoping to attract more people from further afield this year as it falls on a Saturday,” Mr Baker said.

School choirs, dance groups and warming winter fare from the Carevan will be part of the event.

Richard Perso, 23, who sings and plays didgeridoo and guitar, will perform on the night.

He has recorded two albums in New York and travelled twice to Canada.

The Winter Solstice for Survivors of Suicide evening is a free community event to run from 5pm for a 6pm official start.