In the immediate devastating aftermath of losing our youngest son, Mike, aged 24 on 17th October 2014 (10 days before his 25th birthday) to suicide, our eldest son Pete frantically searched the internet for answers, as Mike had taken his life without any warning. He'd had no known previous mental health issues and shown no obvious signs to ourselves or his friends that he was struggling. Over time we have come to accept we will never have answers.
Pete came across The James Wentworth-Stanley Memorial Fund* and on reading about James and his family, immediately felt a connection. On making contact we were sent a lovely note of sympathy, including a quote from William Wordsworth, which Pete read as part of his tribute to his brother at the funeral and we have subsequently had put on Mike’s gravestone. James Wentworth-Stanley Memorial Fund leaflets and wristbands were given out at the funeral and £2886 was raised through Mike’s funeral donations.
Since then friends and family have joined together to keep raising funds for The James Wentworth-Stanley Memorial Fund. We’re so proud to see loved ones taking on challenges, holding concerts and charity football matches in Mike’s memory, raising over £26,000. Sixteen people took on The Three Peaks Challenge, made up of Mike’s brother, cousins and friends who proudly raised £10,000. Some of Mike’s Deloitte colleagues also ran The Budapest Half Marathon and raised £8,000.
We strongly feel that if Mike had been a suicide attempt survivor and had then reached out and found the right help, he would have helped prevent others from reaching the point where a final solution is found to an often temporary problem/state of mind.
Therefore, we his family and friends, wish to continue to support James' Place who do such amazing work, in his memory. Five years on from Mike's tragic death we decided to turn the annual small gathering we have for his birthday into a bigger event on what would, and should have been his 30th Birthday. So the meal out with close family and friends was turned into a Curry and a Pint Fundraising Party including a curry, raffle, quiz and auction. £8,492 was raised, £7150 being sent on to James' Place and the remainder to our local Survivors Of Bereavement by Suicide group.
It was a great success and also helped us as a family in many ways too in ensuring we keep Mike’s memory alive in a positive way. Raising funds for this charity helps us feel that our devastating loss of Mike can prevent other lives being lost and prevent other families and friends suffering the immense fallout suicide brings. We will continue to support James' Place in the hope of further centres being opened, with hopefully eventually one close-by in The Midlands. Keep up the great work all at James' Place! Mike’s story and James’ story will go on to save lives.
*The James Wentworth-Stanley Memorial Fund became James' Place when the first centre opened in Liverpool in 2018.