A DELIGHTED Kate Carroll was presented with a cheque for £5,000 for the Steve Carroll Foundation at the weekend following a gig in Belfast hosted by English singer/songwriter, David Ford.
The musician poignantly sang the song he wrote in memory of Kate’s murdered PSNI husband at the end of an emotional evening which saw nearly 300 people in the Empire in Belfast spontaneously shake hands and give each other hugs.
“It was the most fabulous night,” the Banbridge woman told the Leader yesterday (Monday) and the icing on the cake was when I asked people to turn round to the person next to them and give them a hug or shake their hand.
“I thought it would be a nice gesture and if this attitude could be extended across Northern Ireland we would all be able to take a huge leap forward when it comes to accepting each other’s culture and point of view.”
Kate made the request after being asked on stage to address the audience - and saw the response as yet another endorsement of her drive to bring people together through the foundation which was launched in January this year.
“When I was asked to say a few words, I spoke about how we have a beautiful country and how it would be even more beautiful if everyone could live in it together in peace,” she said.
The cheque was Kate’s first major donation towards the Steve Carroll Foundation and it will go towards funding a scholarship for former Banbridge Academy pupil Enya Doyle, now a student at Durham Univeristy.
Enya, along with former Banbridge pupil Lauren Sloan, are both young ambassadors for the foundation and Enya became the first recipient of the ‘Diana Award’ in 2012 which recognises young people who make a courageous contribution to their community.
Both girls went on to receive peace awards and were involved in establishing a cross-community musical ensemble at their school called ‘Not in My Name’.
Since her husband’s murder by republican dissidents in 2009, Kate has been a tireless campaigner for peace and her words in a media interview immediately after the killing inspired David to pen his song ‘Stephen’ which he performed as his finale at the Empire on Sunday evening.
“I can’t thank David enough to doing this and for his cheque which is our first four-figure amount,” added Kate. “It is great that so many people are behind what we are doing.
“We are now going into the schools to encourage them to set up ‘peace’ clubs and societies as young people will be the real driving force for change within our community.”