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Dear fellow bowlers,

I am writing to you formally to thank you all for your welcomes when Neil, Shay Tyrell and I visited, and for the donations received from BLI Clubs and individuals. We have received our final contribution this week and have closed off the finances.

When Neil first suggested this project many months ago, our initial thought was to raise awareness among the bowling community of the challenges that mental health issues present to so many of us. The (very much second) financial ambition was to raise a couple of thousand Euro for our designated charities so that we would have something tangible to show for hisefforts. We never imagined that we would ultimately raise almost €19k, nor that the Clubs would animate Neil’s journey with so much positive activity built around it.

The link below allows access to a table that shows the breakdown of the amounts donated in the BLI/LBLI. We are circulating it for the sake of transparency, and not for comparison between Clubs.

Neil said in every club he visited that the money donated would save lives. It will, because Pieta House and MindWise will be able to fund counselling and outreach programmes as a result of Irish bowlers’ generosity.

As we are now acutely aware following our recent tragedy, we need to monitor our own mental health and to be prepared to have open conversations about issues we ourselves are facing. And, by corollary, we need to be aware of those around us, and to be prepared to check in on others. Most importantly, we need to seek help for any potential issues that arise in respect either of ourselves or others. Remember that GPs and A&E departments are the routes to
initially take.

This project has, thanks to so many bowlers around the country, opened up many possibilities for future activities. We will hope to work with Pieta House and MindWise to identify pathways for our community of bowlers to be able to engage with mental health support agencies.

Yours in sport,

Ollie (O’Brien).