A VIP gathering of friends of Derry and Sallyanne Clarke will meet at their L'Écrivain restaurant for a special lunch this Christmas Eve.
A yuletide tradition, this year the meal will have a special poignancy with those present offering their support as the first anniversary of the death of Derry and Sallyanne's son Andrew approaches.
Broadcaster Norah Casey, coiffure to the stars Dylan Bradshaw, TV3’s Lorraine Keane and husband Peter Devlin, photographer Barry McCall and interior designer Kari Rocca are just some of those expected.
Andrew Clarke (16) was found unconscious in the garage of their family home just two days after Christmas last year and passed away on New Year’s Eve.
“They say the first Christmas without someone is the worst, we don't know because we haven't experienced that yet. This will be the first,” Derry said.
However, friends are doing everything they can to offer the popular couple as much support as they can over Christmas.
“Everybody wants to be there for Derry and his family this year,” a source told the Herald.
“That's why there will be such a big turn-out for their lunch in L'Ecrivain on Christmas Eve.”
The restaurateur had spoken previously of how the family have tried to come to terms with the loss of son Andrew, while also “getting up in the morning” to run their Michelin-starred restaurant L'Écrivain on Lower Baggot Street.
And Derry said his continuing pain over the loss of Andrew, leaves him uncertain whether he wants to celebrate the 25th anniversary of L'Ecrivain restaurant in 2014.
“This has been a very hard year personally. I have no idea what I'll do next year because my head is all over the place, I suppose I would just like to keep things going in the restaurant and keep all my great staff,” he said.
Derry has now thrown himself behind support service www.teenline.ie – believing Ireland is in the grip of an epidemic of suicide.
The chef said that he wants to become an ambassador for listening more.
“I want to do more for them next year. I would say to anybody contemplating suicide to think of the devastation that they leave behind them,” he said.
“If you could see the future, and |what you left behind, people wouldn’t do it.”
Teenline can be contacted at 1800 833 634 while the Samaritans are open 24 hours a day 1850 60 60 90.