Members of staff at Crawley Borough Council stepped up to support a colleague who lost their daughter to suicide a year ago, by fundraising for PAPYRUS, the national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide.

Staff from across the organisation donned their aprons and baked a range of homemade treats, from millionaire’s shortbread, cupcakes, mince pies, chocolate cake and even some samosas and pakoras for a bake sale. Raising more than £1,700.

To honour each person who lost their lives to suicide in the UK in 2017, staff also joined together and spent their personal time crafting a paper chain with a total of 6,261 links. Of these, 1,666 were people under the age of 35.

These amazing paper chains have been displayed in the first floor offices of the Town Hall.

To go alongside the paper chains, a Tree of Remembrance has been created and dedicated to a son or daughter lost to suicide. The photos and messages of love displayed on the tree have been shared by members of the Compassionate Friends bereavement support group in honour of their lost children.

A bereaved parent said: “We like our children’s names to be read, known and spoken aloud – never to be forgotten or hidden away.”

The tree is located in the public area on First Floor of the Town Hall and everyone is welcome to visit and take time to reflect. There is also a message book for visitors to leave messages of support or in remembrance of a loved one.  The AA Milne Poem ‘If ever there is a tomorrow’ lines the walls alongside the tree.

Councillor Chris Mullins, Portfolio Holder for Wellbeing, stated; “For many, Christmas is a joyous time to spend with friends and families but it also gives us a time to pause for reflection, remembering those who are no longer with us. I am very proud of the staff at Crawley Borough Council for reaching out to support their colleague in this inspirational way and to raise awareness of this extremely devastating issue – young suicide.  My thoughts are with all families who have been bereaved, especially at this time of the year.”

Said Hazel Russell, Head of Fundraising at PAPYRUS: “Every week our team of mental health professionals at HOPELINE247 responds to thousands of calls, texts and emails from distressed young people struggling with life, and others who may be concerned that a young person they know could be having thoughts of suicide.

“This very generous support will help to strengthen our team to keep pace with increasing demand for this service, as awareness of the help we provide continues to grow.”

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