Suzanne’s Night is an inspiring legacy

Bethany Christian Trust, paid tribute to local charity advocate Suzanne O'Brien.
Bethany Christian Trust, paid tribute to local charity advocate Suzanne O'Brien.

SHE spent her life helping people, always one to champion a cause or lend a hand – which is why the loss of charity advocate Suzanne O’Brien at the all too young age of 40 has left such a gaping void.

It was in August 2015 that Suzanne collapsed on a bus in Edinburgh’s southside.

But even now, approaching three years later, her legacy continues to inspire.

Now the fundraising team from national homelessness charity Bethany Christian Trust, has paid tribute to the remarkable woman from Craigmillar.

Her friends and family have also set up a JustGiving Page in her memory, to enable people to donate money to the homeless charity which had always been close to her heart.

Suzanne’s parents used the money to host a charity event, called Suzanne’s Night on Sunday, to mark her birthday.

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 one 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 do something in her memory, I wanted to come and 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 two-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 people 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 all who come into the shelter are blessed by this event.”