A couple from Fermanagh has shared their inspiring journey of overcoming anxiety to tell their story of hope and healing following a devastating tragedy.

Billy and Ciara Nicholl captivated listeners at the Hope, Healing and Growth event as they opened up about the heartbreaking loss of their cherished eight-year-old daughter, Ellie, and the subsequent creation of Ellie’s Retreat as a lasting legacy.

Amidst the depths of sorrow, the Nicholls found solace in the therapeutic influence of sharing their personal ordeal to offer support to others.

Describing the event, Mrs. Nicholl said: “It was a very nerve-wracking experience for us; we are not public speakers.

“I will chat away to anyone one-to-one, but to get up in front of a crowd, it scared the life out of us, but once we got up, Aideen [McGinley] was fantastic and we did it just as chatting.”

This was the first time the Nicholls have addressed an event and spoken at one.

Mrs. Nicholl explained: “We have done nothing like that before. We might have got up and said ‘Thank you very much for attending or your support’, or something like that, and it would have been two or three lines, and that would have been the height of it.

“We like to stay below the radar and keep doing what we are doing, and we certainly don’t look for any recognition.

“As long as we provide respite to the family that need it, and a wee break, that’s all that we need.”

The couple spoke about the importance of respite and how Ellie’s Retreat has helped families.

“The Aisling Centre deals with counselling, and we explained that Ellie’s Retreat is not about counselling, because it is not for everybody, and sometimes the break away is what the family need to get themselves that wee uplift and boost to create memories.”

Mrs. Nicholls added: “The whole thing is about spreading awareness, and that was a big thing for us as well.”

She praised the event and said: “We were there the whole day, and the day just flew through.

“There were so many people up there who had their stories to tell, and they were so inspirational, and you were glued to what they had to say.

“Billy and I don’t look for recognition, and we are totally humbled at the thought that they actually asked us to be there, because the others telling their stories, they were totally inspirational.”

Mrs. Nicholl continued: “Everybody has their own troubles. You don’t just judge a book by the cover, because we know our story, and people know our story.

“People who were there have their stories to tell as well, and everybody has their own issues and problems behind closed doors.”