The fundraising team from Bethany Christian Trust paid tribute to local charity advocate Suzanne O’Brien, who passed away in August 2015 after collapsing on a bus in Edinburgh’s Southside.
From Craigmillar, Suzanne spent much of her life helping people in need and raising awareness for various charitable causes. After her passing at the age of 40, her friends and family set up a JustGiving Page in her memory, to enable people to donate money to a homeless charity close to her heart – Bethany Christian Trust.
Suzanne’s parents used the money to host a charity night, called ‘Suzanne’s night’ on Sunday, January 14 to mark her birthday. On Sunday night, along with Suzanne’s family and friends, Bethany’s fundraising team cooked and served a two course meal for 53 people who were sleeping rough using the Care Shelter at Meadowbank Church.
One of Suzanne’s childhood friends who was helping out on the night, Liam Kerr MSP, said: “Suzanne and I knew each other since we were 14 – our birthdays were only 1 week apart. The thing about Suzanne was this was very much what she was about. She was always about helping people. She rarely had any cash because she was always giving it away to charities. So when her family put this together to try and help and do something in her memory, I wanted to come and help remember her and remember the things that were important to her.”
Bethany’s Edinburgh Care Shelter provides a free night shelter and sleeping facilities to people who are homeless. Started in Edinburgh in 1996 with a 2-week pilot over Christmas, the Shelter has grown over the years to span six and a half months over the winter, providing overnight shelter every day of the week from October until April.
Shirley Berry, Fundraising and Development Group Head at Bethany Christian Trust, said: “We are privileged to serve alongside the family and friends of Suzanne O’Brien. It’s the ongoing kindness like Suzanne displayed through her charity work that enables our Care Shelter to welcome people each night and share food, to offer support and hope. We hope that Bethany Christian Trust and all who come into the shelter are blessed by this event.”