LOSS: Lotte Lyne says she will never come to terms with the murder of her teenage son Stephen (17), as his 10 year anniversary approaches. Photo: Michelle Crean

Local mother fundraising to continue positive school programme

By Michelle Crean

One local mother, whose son was murdered in Killarney 10 years ago, is hoping a school programme to prevent violence in young people will go nationwide.

Lotte Lyne says she will never come to terms with the brutal murder of her teenage son Stephen (17) who was stabbed in 2009, and says it’s vital to teach empathy to young children to prevent similar violent acts in future.

As it comes to the 10thanniversary of his death on June 18, Lotte says she’s still devastated by his death, but choses to channel her emotions into something positive.

Not only did she set up the ‘Stephen Lyne Foundation’ but three years ago introduced the ‘Roots of Empathy’ programme to Killarney schools in a bid to stamp out violence amongst young people. It helps decrease aggression and increases social and emotional understanding.

So far, the programme which is running in four Killarney primary schools is working, and she now plans to introduce a similar programme into local secondary schools this coming September.

However, in order to keep the programme running she holds regular fundraisers – the next one, ‘Jump for Stephen’, a skydive on Saturday, June 15 takes place in Co Offaly.

She says she chooses to believe in the goodness of humanity and will dedicate her life to creating a safer world for the next generation.

“Stephen never got a chance to live his life or reach his full potential,” Lotte, speaking exclusively to the Killarney Advertiser this week, said.

“The sorrow and grief we as a family live every day will never go away, but I am determined not to let it destroy us or break us. Change starts in your own community.” She said that she felt “compelled” to set up the schools programme to reach out to young people before they get caught up in a situation they may someday regret.

“I do it because somebody has to. I’m doing it because I can and I must. I feel compelled to do it. It’s about creating a better and safer community for our children.”

She explained that the programme, which is running in St Oliver’s, Gaelscoil Faithleann, the Mercy and the Monastery, was developed 20 years ago in Canada with Barnardo’s as the lead agency in Ireland.

“You have got to change the heart behind the knife, the gun, the suicide vest,” she said.

“If we could do something in our own community that would have an impact. This is a year-long programme and can be implemented into any school class.”

Lotte remembers Stephen as a wonderful young man who would do anything for his friends.

“Stephen had a great sense of humour. He was great at sport, especially soccer, and was a very loyal, great friend. He was there for people.”

One hundred percent of the funds raised from fundraisers go to the programme, she added.

“What we are doing is more relative than ever. It’s not for Stephen – it’s for all the young people. We have to do something or it’ll get worse, little by little there’ll be change. This will be Stephen’s legacy.”
For more information visit www.stephenlynefoundation.org or see Facebook page: Stephen Lyne Foundation