Milestone birthday means money for Action Mental Health

Gareth O’Brien (centre, in purple Action Mental Health vest) celebrates his marathon fundraising efforts with supporters.

A milestone birthday has prompted a County Down man to use the occasion to test his mettle while raising money for Action Mental Health.

Gareth O’Brien, from Kilcoo, who works as shop manager at Haldane Fisher, turned 50 this year and decided to use the big Five-O as an opportunity to help Action Mental Health support its wide-ranging services for clients at AMH New Horizons Newry and Mourne.

Gareth, who lives in Kilcoo with his partner Elaine, has been running as a hobby for the past 15 years, and has been steadily building up the distance in that time, choosing Action Mental Health to benefit from his marathon efforts because mental health issues are so prevalent in the community.

Gareth ran his marathon – from Armagh to Restrevor ­– on Saturday, July 17, and was welcomed to the finish line by bagpipers, some of whom Gareth has played with, in local bands in previous years, and other well-wishers, including work colleagues.

“A few people I know have been affected by mental health issues, and I think a lot of families have too, so as I turn 50 this year I decided to run a marathon from Armagh to Rostrevor, to raise funds for Action Mental Health New Horizons Newry and Mourne, based in Ballybot House. With these changing and challenging times that Covid has brought I am hoping the funds raised will be of great use and help those who need it,” he said.

 “I have worked in Haldane Fisher now for 32 years and the support I get there from work colleagues and customers is incredible,” he added.

So far, Gareth’s fundraising efforts have shored up almost £3000. Anyone interested in donated can do so online at You can also donate at shop counter in Haldane Fisher. Alternatively, donations can be made at AMH New Horizons Newry at An Storas, 28 Cornmarket Newry BT35 8GB

AMH New Horizons supports the recovery of adults experiencing mental ill-health who are interested in progressing towards further education/training or employment. Clients who attend New Horizons participate in the “Working it Out” project, which is part-funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020, the Department for the Economy and the five NI Health & Social Care Trusts. The project provides specialist training in personal development, vocational skills and employability.

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