A FOUNDATION set up in memory of murdered Banbridge policeman Stephen Carroll urgently requires financial support to allow it to achieve its aim of steering young people away from violence.
Constable Carroll’s wife Kate, who founded the organisation after his death in March 2009, said they need a start-up fee of £500 to enable them to register as a charity and make real changes in the lives of those young people most vulnerable to paramilitary influences.
While she is hoping to launch the foundation in September, Kate said there is a lot of work to be done yet and has appealed to anyone who can to give generously to a cause very close to her heart.
“After Steve’s death I thought to myself, I can either die with him or get up and fight on to end all this,” she said.
“I have some young people already on board, I call them my Young Ambassadors, and they really are a credit to themselves and their families.”
Constable Carroll was shot dead as he sat in a car during an emergency call-out in Craigavon. He
Kate recalls a letter written to her shortly after her husband’s death, by a then 15-year-old Banbridge Academy pupil, and a poem by a primary four boy entitled ‘Don’t go back’.
As well as being moved by the sentiments from those young people who condemned the violence, Kate admits the age of one of the men convicted of her husband’s murder hit home to her also.
John Paul Wootton was 17 when he was involved in the murder of Constable Carroll, and had just turned 21 when he was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the crime.
“If you compare those young people and look how their lives have turned out in completely different ways it is really startling,” said Kate.
“There were two people who came from a similar area. One is now going to spend a lot of his life in prison and the other is getting on with her education and doing well for herself.
“We need to get to people when they are young and be positive influences on their lives.”
Kate added that she felt more strongly than ever about the cause since the recent dissident statement announcing the merger of three Republican groups and a renewed threat of violence.
If you want to donate or help out please contact the Leader on 028 92679111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in touch with Kate.