Three fathers have undertaken a second momentous charity walk in memory of their daughters lost to suicide.
Despite the distance that separates them, Mike, Andy and Tim are brought together by the tragic loss of their daughters. Suicide is the biggest killer of those under 35 in the UK; a hidden epidemic affecting so many young people, including Beth, Sophie, and Emily.
The three fathers have walked from Northern Ireland, then across to Edinburgh and down to Cardiff and finally on to London to not only raise awareness and funds for the mental health and suicide charity, PAPYRUS, but also to provide a focus for continuing the conversation with Government about embedding suicide prevention in the school curriculum.
They were once again overwhelmed by the people who came to join them along the way, some with their own personal stories around the loss of a loved one and who wanted to join them in highlighting their suicide prevention message. Aviators from the Royal Air Force also joined the three dads to show their support.
Tim is a Wing Commander in the Royal Air Force, working as a Regional Liaison Officer for the East of England, under No 11 Group. His daughter, Emily, was a loved member of the community, playing for the local football club and working at the village pub. She shared joy and laughter with the customers, and spread her creative talent through art.
Autism meant Emily struggled to fit into society and saw the world differently; she could not understand how people were nasty, and that would frustrate her. She wanted to spread kindness and help everyone, even planning to volunteer for the NHS as a pathway into a nursing career.
Years of struggling led Emily to attempt suicide on the 18th March 2020. She died five days later, in the hospital where she had been born 19 years earlier.
I strongly believe that in a moment of darkness Emily made a wrong decision. Two minutes earlier or later it would have been different. Had she just taken time to think or to speak to someone, her decision and my family’s lives would be on another path. Instead, she decided she could no longer go on leaving behind a devastating ripple effect on her family and friends.
In 2021, the three dads walked over 300 miles in memory of their daughters, Sophie, Beth and Emily, who all took their own lives. They walked to raise awareness of suicide prevention and raised over £800, 000 for PAPYRUS, the charity that supports the prevention of young suicide, by encouraging people across the UK to talk openly about suicide and suicide prevention.
Coverage by ITV and the BBC has allowed the fathers to raise a considerable amount of funds, with a £10,000 boost last year personally donated by Daniel Craig, star from the latest James Bond movies, however, they are continuing to raise awareness in the hope that they can save other families from the unimaginable grief an untimely loss can create, encouraging them to talk to each other and clear the stigma around suicide.
PAPYRUS believes that many young suicides are preventable. They operate HOPELINEUK, a confidential call, text, and email helpline for young people with thoughts of suicide or those concerned about a young person who may have thoughts of suicide.
More information can be found on the 3Dads website.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. More information and support can be found on the RAF’s Health & Wellbeing page.