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Black Santa's Diary: New Lord Mayor shares passion for tackling mental health issues

Rev Stephen Forde
Rev Stephen Forde

By Stephen Forde, Dean of Belfast

One of the new Belfast Lord Mayor Danny Baker's first duties was to call with Black Santa and his helpers on the steps of Belfast Cathedral.

Making his donation to the Black Santa appeal, the new mayor - who was appointed after John Finucane was elected MP for North Belfast - was introduced to others who had called by to place their gift in the barrel.

The mayor and the dean shared their concern for tackling mental health issues and the high suicide rate among young people, particularly in north and west Belfast.

Mental health is one of the areas the Black Santa appeal particularly focuses its resources towards.

It is why every pound donated is vital for the wellbeing of others in our city.

With the torrential rain of Wednesday over, and the Black Santa cloaks dried on radiators overnight, the morning was warmer - and drier - as Black Santa took up his place in Donegall Street.

The pace of giving has also picked up.

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There was a steady stream of those who brought their bags of coins and some envelopes filled with notes.

The pupils of St Joseph's school in Carryduff stopped off for a photo with Black Santa on their way to learn about Belfast during the Second World War.

Claire, with Danny in his buggy and Christian in a baby carrier, opened her purse and emptied its contents into the barrel.

Some stopped their cars, a Harley Davidson pulled over and even a bus drew up, with Black Santa and his helpers running to outstretched hands to add to the collection.

No doubt the generosity of the people of Belfast will continue right up to Christmas Eve when Black Santa puts away his barrel.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph