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Derry to cook up a banquet at festival

Michelin-starred chef Derry Clarke has vowed to ignore the critics and continue raising funds for suicide support group Console.

His wife Sallyanne revealed this week how the couple were shocked to review hate mail in the wake of their son Andrew's tragic suicide in December 2012.

Dismissing them as "cranks", Derry added: "They're just nuts and to be honest, they're not mentally right themselves."

fundraiser

The celebrity chef has now cooked up a tasty fundraiser for the suicide charity which will run for three days at the Electric Picnic.

Combining dishes from Derry's L'Ecrivain, Chapter One, China Sichuan and L'Gueuleton, costs have been waived by the festival organisers so 100pc of the proceeds from the €120-a-head, five-star banquet will go towards the charity. A Victorian-style marquee will be erected especially for the event, which sees 50 seats per sitting. Black-tie outfits are even provided for those who want to dress up.

"It will be fun, a challenge and I have colleagues and friends helping me. Doing it on my own would be harder alright. With regards to the Picnic, they are known for their food anyway," he said.

"It is an expense at €120 but the food's going to be really good. There will be good wines and champagne and cocktails and music too."

Derry will also be saddling up next month for a charity cycle from Dublin to Paris, which he hopes will raise even more money for the charity as they head towards the €100,000 target. And he said he gets some solace from his fundraising efforts.

"When I'm on the bike, I think I'm doing something right, I'm doing something good," he said. "But there is an epidemic out there. Two weeks ago in a town in Ireland, there were seven kids' suicides in two days and half of them are copy-cats. And that's happening out there all the time, it's constant."

The official figure for the number of suicides annually is 720 - but Derry estimates the real figure could be twice that.

"If you look at Ireland at the moment, funding for the Road Safety Authority is very, very high which is right but unfortunately, four times more people are dying by suicide than they are on the roads in Ireland, which is preventable," he added.

mfinn@herald.ie


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