An Irish suicide awareness campaigner has raised more than €18,000 in Cork’s ‘Rememorial’ weekend to honour her family who died in a tragic accident in Devon almost three years ago.
Elber Twomey lost her son Oisin and unborn daughter Elber Marie when their car was struck by Marek Wojciechowski, a taxi driver who was suicidal, in July 2012. Elber’s husband Con died from his injuries ten months later.
The campaigner, who has called out for better mental health and suicide training within the UK’s Police Force and An Garda Siochana, organised a series of events in Cork to remember her family and raise vital funds for Irish suicide awareness charities including Pieta House, Inspire Ireland and Suicide Aware.
Some of the funds from the weekend will also be donated to the hospitals that treated the Twomey family, both in Devon and in Cork.
“I wanted the weekend to be about remembering Connie, Oisn and the little lady. For me, it’s a personal thing, but I don’t like the word memorial. It’s very final. Rememorial was more positive,” Elber said speaking to Ray D’Arcy on RTE Radio One.
“I want to thank everyone who donated and took part in the weekend’s walks and runs. Connie was a good hurler so we had six hurling teams playing for the Rememorial Cup this weekend,” said Elber.
Elber has been working closely with police forces in Cornwall to help improve their tactics when it comes to pursuing someone known to be struggling with mental health issues.
She revealed that the police officer in pursuit of Marek on the day of the accident was not to blame.
“The police officer, the poor soul, had no support that day, from the control room staff or anybody. It was just up to himself and that’s not fair. They need to have at least some level of basic suicide awareness to fall back upon,” she said.
“The Chief Superintendent in Cornwall invited me over in April to see the driver training they are doing now like they do in Templemore. It’s just a better understanding of vulnerable people who generally don’t have a wish to die. That’s my hope that they’ll introduce suicide awareness training.
“Now only tactical pursuit trained drivers can initiate such a pursuit in Cornwall,” she said.
The third anniversary of the accident is this July and Elber revealed that it will be her “shut down day”.
“The sixth of July is my shut down day," she said.
“I’ll have mass in the morning for Oisin and get in the car and walk the beach, cry and remember my family,” Elber said.
Speaking of the accident in the past, Elber described the day as the one where she “lost everybody”.
“I’m blessed to have good faith. I do believe that we’re only passing through this world and I’m going to see them all again.
“Ive forgiven [Marek] thanks be to God. I don’t know where I’d be otherwise. I’d be a mess and I’d be bitter.
“I wouldn’t be here talking to you now,” Elber said.
For more information on the Rememorial visit: www.twomeyfamilyremorial.com