AS KATE Carroll strives this week to draw a line under the trial of her husband’s murderers, she is busying herself with an important new project which will help keep his memory alive, writes Gail Bell.
Kate is establishing the Stephen Carroll Memorial Trust with the help of Ann Doyle, who has worked in the field of voluntary reconciliation for a number of years.
The project will acknowledge the efforts of young people who have made a sustained and significant difference to their community.
A ‘Beacon of Hope’ scholarship will be available to a first-year undergraduate from Northern Ireland who intends to study in the UK or Ireland and who has made a courageous contribution to a shared future.
Speaking about the scholarship to be provided under the auspices of the Trust, Kate said the holder would be a “significant agent of change”; someone who had been inspirational and innovative in their approach to securing a lasting peace in Northern Ireland.
The scholarship will be in the region of £3,000 per year for a period of three years, providing the recipient complies with Trust guidelines on promoting its mission and values. The award holder will be presented with a Beacon of Hope trophy at the beginning of the scholarship which will be theirs to keep.
“I feel this will be a lasting legacy to Steve and an excellent way to encourage young people to build on the already positive steps which have been taken on the path towards peace and a shared future,” said Kate. “As well as the scholarship for older young people, part of the project will focus on the primary schools as we feel it is important to reach children at an impressionable age and before they can be indoctrinated or entrenched in sectarian politics and thinking.
“We thought it was time to acknowledge the peace-builders in our society because no-one else in Northern Ireland is doing it.”
Kate is also in the process of writing a book based on her life with Steve and although still very much in the early stages, she says penning her emotional “personal journey” has been a cathartic exercise and source of great comfort.
“It really is my personal journey and it documents many precious, poignant moments Steve and I had together,” she said. “I have been writing bits and pieces down on the computer as they occur to me and it has been difficult and comforting at the same time.
“One of the most difficult chapters has been writing about how we were due to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary at Ashford Castle, County Mayo, the year after Steve was murdered.
“We had intended to renew our wedding vows in what was to be a very special, romantic occasion. Instead, I went to Ashford Castle without him and spent our anniversary heartbroken.”