St Mary’s High School To Abseil In Memory Of Catherine

Pupils and staff at St Mary’s High School in Downpatrick are completing an abseil from the Europa Hotel this Sunday (28th April 2024) starting just before 1pm in memory of a past pupil Catherine Kenny who passed away and in 2016.

Catherine Kenny from Downpatrick, who died on the streets of Belfast in 2016.

Maths teacher Leona Kearney said: “Two of our Y13 pupils came up with the idea of the abseil in memory of Catherine Kenny from Downpatrick who suffered from a complex personality disorder and died after a period of sleeping rough in Belfast.

“They are raising funds for the Welcome Organisation in Belfast which provides therapeutic support and 10 beds for women in distress and in the need of shelter.

“Catherine passed away when she was 33. And 25 of our staff and students are going over the top at the Europa Hotel to raise vital funds for the work the the Welcome Organisation does.

“Catherine’s sister who tried constantly to support her in her times of need, has taken part in a podcast which can be seen on You Tube here.

“The interview is about an hour long and Lee Maria Hughes goes into considerable detail about what life was like trying to care for her sister who suffered a severe personality disorder. Lee Marie never gave up helping her sister who she loved to the last.

“Lee Marie will also be joining us in the abseil. The weather looks settled with little wind so we are looking forward to the challenge for a great cause.

“Many people in Downpatrick and beyond still remember Catherine and the school is supporting the Welcome Centre and are trying to raise funds.

Staff and pupils have come together at St Mary’s High School in Downpatrick to organise an abseil at the Europa Hotel on Sunday 28th April to support the Welcome Organisation in memory of Catherine Kenny.

“So please make a donation, however small or large, to support women who may be sleeping rough or in need of safety and care.”

Please donate on this safe link.

The Welcome Organisation help people affected by homelessness through a range of services, and their latest service, is a 10-bed full-time, therapeutic and supportive accommodation.

This centre was named after Catherine Kenny who tragically died on the streets of Belfast in March 2016, aged just 33.

Catherine was the fifth person to die on the streets in a matter of weeks in 2016.

St. Mary’s High School will formally close on 31st August 2024 as part of the post-primary reorganisation in Downpatrtick and it will be part of the New Lecale Trinity Grammar School.

Leona Kearney added: “In this last year, we would like to remember Catherine and all those other students whose lives did not turn out the way they had hoped and dreamed.”