Friday, 28 August 2015

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Cumbrian ball to raise awareness of suicide among young people

Sally Jenkins wants no other family to go through the heartache hers has endured.

Sally Jenkins photo
Sally Jenkins, left and friend Mairi Black

Her 19-year-old daughter Helen took her own life nine months ago. It’s a loss that those who knew her will never come to terms with.

But it’s one which Sally is determined to try to ensure as few people as possible have to suffer.

She and her friends have already raised thousands of pounds in Helen’s memory for the charity Papyrus, which tries to prevent suicide among young people and raise awareness of the issue.

Now they’re taking that work to another level with a charity ball to support the cause.

Sally, 47, of Langwathby, said: “We have had tremendous support from family and friends which has helped us cope during the last nine months. We want the charity event to be successful so other young people can be helped in the future.

“Suicide is something that can be so instantaneous. Not everyone contemplating taking their own life does so over an extended period of time.

“We need to get people to stop and think about the consequences of such actions and to know that there are trained and sympathetic people to whom you can talk in confidence about whatever is troubling you.”

Helen was about to celebrate her 20th birthday and looking forward to finishing a degree in English literature, a subject she adored, at the time of her death.

The former pupil of Wigton’s Nelson Thomlinson School and Dalston’s St Michael’s Primary was also a talented skier and about to start work at a ski resort in the French Alps during a university gap year.

Other relatives and friends have been supporting her mum’s fundraising efforts.

A group of old school friends, led by Emily Pattinson, organised a tea party which raised more than £2,000. Wigton and Aspatria Young Farmers’ Club dedicated one of their drama productions to the cause, raising about £600. Overall about £7,000 has been raised so far.

Sally, who is being helped by friend Mairi Black, hopes the ball will be equally well supported, for a cause she believes saves lives.

She said: “Papyrus seeks to identify young people who are feeling suicidal and help them deal with their problems, so much education is needed.

“They have evidence to show they are making a difference. People phone them back the day after saying they have saved their life.”

Papyrus say they have about 800 people contacting them each month on top of the daily HOPEline calls. Suicide is the largest cause of death in people under the age of 35 and rates of suicide in Cumbria are among the highest in the country.

The event, at the Shepherd’s Inn on August 3, will feature music from Nelson Thomlinson band The 45s and DJ Dragon and a sit-down meal. Tickets cost £30 and are available from Sally on 07855 821816 or Mairi Black on 07885 169681.



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