THREE DADS AND A 300-MILE CHALLENGE TO PREVENT YOUNG SUICIDE 

Tim, Mike and Andy, embark on their incredible 300 mile journey on 9 October.

 

Three ordinary dads who lost young daughters to suicide are preparing to set off on an extraordinary journey to help spare other families the agony of losing a child.

The 300-mile walk in memory of their daughters Sophie, Beth and Emily will raise awareness of suicide prevention and promote the professional help and support which is available to young people who are struggling with life.

Andy Airey from Cumbria, Mike Palmer from Greater Manchester and Tim Owen from Norfolk have three different stories to tell, each has the same tragic ending.

Their trek, 3 Dads Walking, is in support of the national charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide and will begin at Andy’s home in Cumbria on Saturday 9 October.

“Suicide is the biggest killer of young people under the age of 35 in the UK. We only learned this terrifying fact because each of us has lost a daughter to suicide within the last three years.

“By raising awareness, we hope to prevent other families from suffering such indescribable pain and bring something positive out of the utter devastation of losing a child to suicide,” said Andy whose 29-year-old daughter Sophie took her own life in 2018.

From Cumbria the three dads will head south, walking through South Lakeland and Lancashire to Mike Palmer’s home in Greater Manchester. Mike lost his 17-year-old daughter Beth to suicide in March 2020.

“3 Dads Walking is not a club I want to belong to, but along with Andy and Tim it gives us, as fathers, an opportunity to fight back and maybe make a difference.

“We are all too aware that there are more young people out there falling into despair and see no way out other than to end their own precious lives.

“We hope that by linking our three homes and telling our three daughters’ very different stories we will put a spotlight on young mental health and ultimately the brutal effects of suicide,” said Mike.

Mike with daughter, Beth.

 

After leaving Greater Manchester the 3 Dads Walking will head south east through Cheshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire before arriving at Tim’s family home in King’s Lynn.

“I strongly believe that in a moment of darkness my daughter 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.

“She just had no idea how many lives she touched and continues to impact,” said Tim whose 19-year-old daughter Emily was lost to suicide in March 2020.

Averaging 20 miles a day 3 Dads Walking aim to complete their challenge in 15 days, finishing their journey on Saturday 23 October.

Tim with daughter, Emily.

 

Every step of the way they will be remembering their daughters and supporting the work of PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide; promoting the charity’s belief that many young suicides can be prevented.

Ged Flynn, Chief Executive of PAPYRUS, says the walk will be a life-saver.

“Andy, Mike and Tim were leading different lives in different parts of the country and would probably never have met had they not been brought together by the tragedy and trauma of suicide which has shattered their lives and the lives of those around them.

“As 3 Dads Walking they will be able to channel their energy and focus on what they can do to help save young lives.

“It is remarkable that these proud fathers, who are each trying to deal with their own grief in their own way, have found a positive path forward together.”

Andy with daughter, Sophie.

 

Their website: https://www.3dadswalking.uk/ contains moving tributes to their daughters, details of the route, a list of generous supporters and how to donate via their JustGiving page.

The website will also allow users to track the walk live, courtesy of www.opentracking.co.uk.

For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice please contact PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the UK. PAPYRUS aims to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives by breaking down the stigma around suicide and equipping people with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.

HOPELINEUK is the charity’s confidential helpline service providing practical advice and support to young people with thoughts of suicide and anyone concerned about a young person who may have thoughts of suicide.

HOPELINEUK is staffed by trained professionals, offering a telephone, text and email service.

For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice please contact PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

26 comments on “Three Dads Walking

  1. Jeannie MacMillan-Banham on

    I am in awe of what you are doing and we’re it not for a recent ankle break, I’d be with those three dads.
    My daughter, Erin, killed herself because she was being bullied. She was only 15. That was 17 years ago and I am no further forward. It has destroyed my peace and my health. I am in urgent need of counselling but have very little money. Any ideas regarding bereavement counselling, in a complex area would be gratefully received. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Bridget on

      Hello, have you heard of Julia Samuel, a leading grief psychotherapist? My daughter took her own life in December 2019 and I have now read Julia’s first book Grief Works (amazing) and I follow her on Instagram and join her zoom meetings. There is also something called The Grief Festival at the end of October which I have joined. I hope this might in some small way be useful.

      Reply
    • Kath on

      hi Jeannie. EMDR trauma therapy helped me after decades of pain. Or you may be able to access trauma focused CBT on the NHS. ask your GP. Hope you can find something to ease the pain.

      Reply
  2. Craig Barron on

    Hi three guys.
    I’m literally lost for words and sobbing as I lost my eldest daughter in the same way less than six months ago. I would love to join you on one of the sections of your journey.

    Love and respect.

    Craig Barron

    Reply
    • KD on

      If you watched the mums on the TV would you have wondered where the dads were? I applaud these dads for their courage in talking about their loved daughters to the nation and I am sure that the mums together with many people throughout the country will be cheering them on during their HOPEWALK.

      Reply
    • Survivor on

      The mums will be grieving and may be trying to move forward in their own way. Make no judgements ever if you are not in that space. Women often have different types of friendships to the guys. I lost my son a few years ago to suicide. It is still too painful to lift my head and try to do something like this yet – it makes me feel that we failed him and didn’t do enough to prevent what happened. But I will support these courageous dads and others like them as I work through the job of surviving after this experience.

      Reply
    • Angela on

      The ‘mums’ grandparents aunts uncles brothers and sisters are in the support team … meeting at rendezvous points, providing refreshments and vehicle support … just because they aren’t visible doesn’t mean they aren’t there!

      Reply
  3. Ruth on

    Jeannie. Care for the Family do Bereavement Days and Weekends for Parents. We went on one this year (presently on Zoom) You are put in break up groups with people having experienced a similar death. We were with 3 other couples whose child had taken their own life. A really helpful day and you don’t have to pay.

    Reply
  4. Karen Monk on

    Just watched the 3 guys on BBC breakfast, it broke my heart and have just read each ones story, we have 3 children all grown up now and 8 grandchildren, I couldn’t imagine loosing any of them to anything let alone suicide, they are our world, my heart snd thoughts go to each of you, I hope your walk is a good one and the weather is kind, good luck 💔💔💔

    Reply
  5. Niamh Bays on

    Lost my youngest son to suicide in May 17 and just watched you guys in BBC breakfast. Your story resonated so much with me and reaffirms why I too am out there spreading the message that it’s okay not to be okay and trying to end the stigma -Good luck guys X❤️X
    #rememberingniall #happyandsaddays #itsokaynottobeokay

    Reply
    • Hugh Stevenson on

      Hi Niamh, I’ve watched this item on BBC Breakfast too. I’m always interested in mental health matters as I’ve been plagued with depression and anxiety disorders since adolescence and although I’ve just turned 60 I vividly remember being young and feeling very unhappy at times so can relate to young people now who feel suicidal. Also like you I’ve experienced a recent bereavement, my partner Linda died of MS related illness in April. Its bad enough but of course it was a natural death and no where near as bad as the circumstances of losing your lad. Best wishes, Hugh.😀

      Reply
  6. JEAN BENNETT on

    16 years ago I lost my beautiful daughter, Elayne to suicide. We walked the Camino de Santiago some time later and raised money for Papyrus. What you are doing is wonderful and I will be with you every step of the way.
    Jean Bennett

    Reply
  7. Anne on

    It’s just over a year ago that my 20 year old son took his own life.
    It was totally out of the blue.
    No-one knew anything was wrong.
    Good luck to the three Dads on their long walk.
    The more money they make, the more help and support they can offer to our young people.

    Reply
  8. Rosa winzar on

    I sadly know of five young adults no longer with us and two older adults .The sadness they have left is unbearable.What ever can be done to highlight suicide prevention is essential but also the need for more mental health centres offering therapy and not cutbacks or discharging patients who still need help because they need a bed.The mental health service as we know it is failing them.
    l know the pain of waiting for hours that felt like days for the police to find your child before it’s too late each minute meant she was closer to death l was lucky they saved her with little time to spare.
    I wish these three dads and their families all the strength for their long journey not just on the walk but also in life.

    Reply
  9. Sarah on

    Wishing the 3 dads all the best for their walk. I’ll donate what little I can but wish it could be more. One of my sons personally knows more young people who have been lost to suicide this year, than people lost to the pandemic. Despite the wider group of friends really supporting each other and regularly encouraging everyone to keep talking, another lad was lost just this week. Another son was shocked to the core when he lost an old college friend to suicide last year. It scares me more every time, as my family suffer from depression and anxiety, so it’s a fear we live with as parents of vulnerable young adults. The very real fear of ever having to walk in the dad’s shoes. You will all be in our thoughts. Good luck.

    Reply
  10. Kathy on

    A truly inspirational challenge Tim, Mike and Andy. Unfortunately, suicide is all too common in our society and your tragic experiences which have brought you together through Papyrus in your quest to help others, gives hope to us all. My partner and I continue to suffer the loss of his daughter, Charlotte (27 years) to suicide in 2017 and your personal stories resonated with us. We will be positively tracking your progress and aim to applaude you along your journey as you pass through Mellor, Lancashire.

    Wishing you blister-free walking,
    Chris and Kathy

    Reply
  11. James and Alison naylor on

    Upmost respect for what you guys are doing for mental health and it’s supporting charity papyrus.
    We lost our son Joe to suicide in 2016 , he is sadly missed by all his family .

    Reply
  12. Eleanor Procter on

    We realised you had changed route so came round in white car.
    Met you on the road,so glad we saw you, then you came into Wrayton
    after all. From Eleanor. Good luck with your travels.

    Reply
  13. Ian on

    I unexpectedly lost my son John to suicide Aug 2015 aged 27 he was a university graduate, had a great sense of humour and always seemed happy, the devastating effect just stays with me daily.
    Tim Mike and Andy I understand how you all suffer daily, and Thankyou for your fundraising efforts proud of you and hope to catch up with you en route.
    Good luck three dads.

    Reply

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