Liam Kerr MSP (left) and Suzanne’s family at the Edinburgh Care Shelter

Bethany Christian Trust, the national homelessness charity, has paid tribute to a local charity advocate. Suzanne O’Brien died in August 2015 after she collapsed on a bus in Edinburgh. She was just 40 years old.

Suzanne spent much of her life helping people in need and she worked hard to raise awareness for various charitable causes. Following her tragically early death, Suzanne’s family and friends set up a JustGiving page in memory of her tireless work for charity. This enabled people to donate money to Bethany Christian Trust, a charity which was close to Suzanne’s heart.

Suzanne’s parents used some of the money raised to host a charity night last Sunday, 14th January – Suzanne’s birthday. ‘Suzanne’s Night’ saw Bethany’s fundraising team cook and serve a two course meal at the Care Shelter at Meadowbank Church for more than 50 people who sleep rough on the streets of the capital city.

Liam Kerr, MSP, was a childhood friend of Suzanne and he helped out on Sunday evening. He said “Suzanne and I knew each other since we were 14 – our birthdays were only 1 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 help and do something in her memory, I wanted to come and help remember her and remember the things that were important to her.”

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 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 Bethany Christian Trust and all who come into the shelter are blessed by this event.”

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 2-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.