July 7th 2017
Golf Day Raised Funds for Suffolk SoBS
The golf day took place on Friday 7th July 2017 at Risebridge Golf Club in Romford – my dad was a regular here. It was in memory of Bill Smy and was arranged by my dad’s good friend Dougie Greig and my uncle Wayne Smy (Bill’s brother). Morgan Sindall, (who dad once worked for), kindly supplied the winners cup with dad’s name on it.
The guys taking part wanted the money raised on the day to go to a charity and there was no doubt which I wanted it to go to – SoBS has helped me and my husband so much in the last year since my dad died (June 2016) that I could never thank them enough.
It was a lovely sunny day, with lots of laughter and fun which is what dad would have wanted. It was a great way to remember him.
Written by Gemma who sadly lost her father by suicide
Waitrose at Sudbury
Customers of the Waitrose branch in Sudbury recently raised £490 for Suffolk SoBS by taking part in the monthly community matters scheme. Kathryn Jenkins who lost her daughter by suicide. Linda Wade and Peter Fairman, who both lost sons by suicide, together with Suzy Clifford who lost her husband by suicide, are pictured collecting the cheque from the supermarket.
It is imperative to maintain this specialised and much needed service and without the support of organisations like Waitrose, Suffolk SoBS would struggle to exist. On behalf of all our survivors I thank Waitrose customers for their kind support
Saturday 13th May 2017
CLASP 2017 – Walk out of Darkness
So on Saturday 13th May seven SoBS Survivors made the very early morning start from Ipswich, (at 6.30 am on a Saturday morning – unheard of !!), to our big day out in London for the 2017 CLASP Walk out of Darkness 10 mile – (yes 10+ very long miles) walk around London. We also met up with a number of friends and relatives of people in our group which was really lovely and it swelled our numbers to around 15.
There was a good mixture of survivors from Bury, Ipswich and Lowestoft groups. I met Rebecca and her daughter Daisy from the Lowestoft group, which was really nice, as I have not yet managed to get to the Lowestoft meetings. (A bridge to far for me!)
The weather was kind again this year for us walkers, not too hot and not raining.
The journey started very early, and this year we weren’t forced to stop for coffee and breakfast, at a service station, they had cancelled all the road works in London and allowed our minibus a fast track lane to the event so we arrived in good time. (Actually it was just luck!)
The speeches at the beginning were both informative and motivational, with several “stars” of the television and other famous people. Needless to say I didn’t recognise any of them!
There were several hundred people lined up for the start and after the obligatory warm up we were off at 11 o’clock.
This year the route was completed in reverse, which I found to be more interesting.
The journey started well as they handed out sweets and lollies as we set off. The walk went well and several people tagged themselves to our group during the walk, many had not heard of our organisation, but inevitably, and sadly, had connections to someone bereaved by suicide, so our message got out that way too. There was many an interesting conversation between us all.
There was a water, and more sweets, stop at the half way point, we stopped and foolishly sat down to eat the snacks we had bought with us. 30 minutes later it was time to try and stand up and carry on.
We continued on our way, and generally the sign post for the event seemed to appear when we most needed them.
Finally after 4 and a half hours the end was in sight, and as we approached the finish line we were joined by another group and the official photographer stopped us for a group photo opportunity, and I didn’t even have time to tidy my hair!
So it was then time to find the free refreshments, entertainment and most importantly a lie down with an ice cream, a perfect finish to a very tiring day. After suitable rest, we caught our mini bus back to Ipswich but not until we had done a short detour of London due to road closures! I didn’t hear of any blisters unless everyone was in denial. I think I can confirm we were tired, well I was, but pleased and honoured for having completed the course and done a good thing for all our loved ones.
My special thanks to Suzy for arranging, and Sue, Helen, Rebecca, Daisy, Jackie and her daughter Rachel for talking to me all the way round, I was listening I promise. Thank you ladies you made it very pleasurable and the time passed, it really did for me. Plan A is to definitely go again next year.
Saturday 20th May 2017
King’s Lynn Minster
On Saturday 20th May, a group from Suffolk SoBS, attended a Service of Remembrance for those who have taken their own life, this year held at King’s Lynn Minster. We were warmly welcomed into the church by the various Reverends who were struck by how far we had travelled for the service.
The service had some rousing hymns, beautiful choral singing and some moving spoken testimonies from survivors and culminated in the main focal point, of being invited to light and place a candle at the altar in memory of our loved ones, a moment we all found the toughest yet most peaceful to endure, which we soon found the comfort of embraces from our fellow survivors, supporting each other. At the end of the service a member of each family was invited to receive a lit candle to take home, inscribed with the words “in the darkness and shadows, warm us with your love and light”
The day ended with a meal at the Crown in Mundford; which like the mini bus journey, was an opportunity to meet new survivors from within Suffolk SoBS whom I haven’t met before and extend the bond which unites us all in both our good and dark moments
13th January 2017
Barrow Fundraising Event
The Blackbird Foundation provides well-being for the bereaved. The event was well attended – not surprising really as they were offering free cake! Several local bands provided live music and there was a display of artwork, which was being offered for sale.
Eight months ago Sara lost her best friend Andy to suicide. Andy was a talented artist and it was mostly his work being offered for sale. Sara is a strong supporter of the work done by SoBS and she is hoping to hold the event annually.
The merriment and music were expected to continue through the night but unfortunately the SoBS Four left at 11pm – bless ‘em, they needed their sleep! At the moment, it is hoped that approximately £1,000 will be split between the two charities, but money is still coming in so watch this space.
19th December 2016
Comment – Guardian News Article on Suicide
The following was published on the Guardian Web site https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/19/mps-urge-government-uk-suicide-rates
It talks about the NHS being encouraged to become more focused on tackling suicide rates in the UK. It is good to see that there is also a recognition that those bereaved by suicide need better care and that the media should pay more attention to breaches of the rules concerning the reporting of suicide. Maybe we will also see the term ‘commit suicide’ relegated to the history book as SoBS has long advocated.
Hopefully SoBS will see some funding allocated as part of the ‘better primary and secondary care’. This much needed funding for support by those that have first hand experience of losing loved ones to suicide, (SoBS), cannot come a moment too soon.
A spokesman for the NHS Confederation, which represents NHS trusts, said: “Developing mental health services is essential, but money hasn’t come as quickly as promised, and this is holding-up progress. For too long we have seen year-on-year increases in prison suicide and there are worrying trends around children’s mental health, too, with insufficient investment to improve their care.”
The health select committee also called for those bereaved by suicide to receive better primary and secondary care, and said media guidelines on the reporting of suicide were being widely ignored and that greater attention should be paid to breaches of the rules. The MPs claimed that too many newspapers and broadcasters use the term “commit suicide”, which they said “reinforces stigmatising attitudes from when suicide was a criminal offence”.
5th November 2016
The Sunshine Walking Group Donation
The Sunshine Walking Group kindly donated £100 to Suffolk SoBS following a recent holiday to the Cotswolds.
Glenys, a long term member of SoBS and member of the walking group, introduced through conversation the support our charity gives on a local and national level.
On behalf of all Suffolk SoBS survivors, I would like to thank the Sunshine Group for their support of our organisation and generosity.
29th October 2016
Becky Gilbert Fundraising Run
Becky recently lost a friend and colleague through suicide and Suffolk SoBS was a great help. She has set up a JustGiving page and wishes to raise funds for both Suffolk SoBS and their National Head Office .
11th October 2016
Lady of the Lake Fundraisers
The Lady of the Lake Pub & Restaurant at Lowestoft recently held a psychic evening for its customers. From generous donations, received throughout the night, a grand total of £350 was raised for Suffolk SoBS.
We are a small specialised charity, and on behalf of all our survivors we would like to thank each and every individual who was kind enough to support our charity. Every penny will be used locally to better support survivors.
9th October 2016
Great Yarmouth Mental Health Day
On Saturday 8th October 2016, Suzy and I went to the World Mental Health Day, held by the NSFT (Mental Health Trust) in Great Yarmouth. Suzy said when she booked the day it was nice and sunny and warm, but that was not the case on Saturday! Thankfully it didn’t rain, but we kept warm by putting up the SoBS stall. We were initially asked to put our banner at the back of the gazebo, in case it rained, but after a bit of negotiating and muscle we managed to get the banner at the front and in the middle on prominent display!
The event started at around 10.30 and there were a number of events scheduled by the various groups participating in the event. Suzy networked with a number of organisations which proved a success, and I was dispatched to talk to the 2 policeman on duty in the square (crowd control I think). It was a long time since I last approached a policeman (usually the other way round!). Anyway they were very receptive to all I had to tell them, and I learnt a lot about the way the police operate for major incidents, and in particular suicides. The policeman I spoke to had some really good ideas on how SoBS might integrate with the force better. By the time I returned to the stall Suzy thought I had joined up! Anyway it was at that point the penny dropped that they were Norfolk police and not Suffolk, but that didn’t matter as we could pass on the information, and even use the suggestions with the Suffolk Police. The day continued and we talked to a number of people and even had our official photo taken. Somehow our SoBS banner also managed to get in many of the photos which was another bonus for us.
So overall a good day to promote our organisation, no survivors came forward on the day, but at least the message got out to a lot of people, including a number of health professionals that had not heard of us, so for me it was a worthwhile trip. Hopefully next time the weather will be kinder!”
3rd October 2016
Ultra Marathon Completed by Trevor
In April 2014 I lost my daughter Chloe to suicide, as you can imagine I was lost in life and totally numb. Having nowhere to go and nobody to talk to was so difficult, trying to make sense of it all asking myself constant question of why, why, why?
I came across SOBS and after my first session at the Suffolk Ipswich group I felt safe straight away, so many people wanting to help and give advice because we all had something in common and nobody judges you. This didn’t make my grieving any easier but it did help me make more sense of the whys.
SOBS have been absolutely brilliant for me and I’m sure they will be brilliant for many others going through such horrendous life changing events. I thinks its hugely important we now push on with SOBS and getting it more in the public eye so we as a group can be one of the first groups offered to families in the early stages of suicide grief.
I’ve been so thankful of the continued help I’ve received from SOBS that It was a complete pleasure to complete my first ever Ultra Marathon for SOBS completing 100km in memory of my beautiful daughter Chloe which was the most difficult event I’ve ever completed but having my daughter as my inspiration I was never going to fail and raising over £1200 for the charity was so pleasing also. Again thank you for helping me in my darkest hour.
16th September 2016
Herbert Reeves & Co. generous donation to Suffolk SoBS
A few days later Suffolk SoBS received a cheque in the post for £500 as a donation in memory of William Smy, (Billy), who passed away in June 2016. On behalf of all survivors in the county, who access the indefinite support on offer from our charity, I would like to thank this firm of solicitors for their generosity and support.
6th September 2016
NSFT Senior Managers Meeting, Norwich
On Tuesday 6 September Suzy & Chris travelled to Norwich to attend the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Senior Managers meeting on the theme of wellbeing.
It was organised by Alison Thomas, OD Lead/Staff Health and Wellbeing Lead, who is a strong supporter of the professional group recently launched by Suffolk SoBS.
30th June 2016
Little Waitrose (Ipswich) Raises £130 for Suffolk SoBS
This lovely photo of four survivors who attend either Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds or Ipswich support groups was taken outside Little Waitrose, Ipswich. In total, customers who participated in the monthly ‘Community Care Scheme’ raised £130 for Suffolk SoBS.
As a small, specialised organisation we are delighted at the continued support of our charity by this particular branch of Waitrose. The money will help to secure the vital work of Suffolk SoBS in the county.
Saturday 14th May 2016
CLASP Ten Mile Charity Walk
Following last year’s successful walk undertaken by Suffolk SoBS survivors, five hardy survivors agreed to take part in the CLASP Walking Out Of Darkness 2016 event held once again in London.
Graham describes the day:
So on Saturday 14th May five SOBS Survivors made the trek to the big city lights of London for the annual CLASP 10 mile (yes 10 very long miles) walk around London.
The weather was kind for us walkers, not too hot and not raining.
Although we started our journey early, I had to wake the birds up before leaving, the inevitable delays of London traffic and roadworks delayed us, but we got there just in time for the warm up!
The journey started well as they handed out sweets and lollies as we set off around 11.30. The walk went well and several people tagged themselves to our group during the walk, many had not heard of our organisation, but inevitably, and sadly, had connections to someone bereaved by suicide, so our message got out that way too. There was many an interesting conversation between us all.
There was a water, and more sweets, stop at the half way point, (the middle picture with London bridge in the background).
We continued on our way, with more people joining our group, allegedly for our map reading skills I think ?. The most interesting point, and I am still struggling to comprehend it, was around the 8 mile point, the 5 of us, that will be 4 ladies and me, were walking down the path towards the next bridge, when I observed and commented that we were walking in silence – how could that be. I was instantly informed they were just taking breath and giving me the opportunity to speak – as if. It gave us a laugh though.
The end was in sight and as we approached the finish line one of our members, who shall remain nameless, Pauline, decided she was going to jog to the finish, after an initial denial from the rest of the group we all decided to join her, still not sure why ?. Then onto the free refreshments, entertainment and most importantly a lie down with an ice cream, see 3rd picture – perfect finish. After suitable rest, picture 1 with the ladies holding me up – apparently, we caught our mini bus back to the peace and tranquility of Suffolk. I don’t think there were any blisters to report, we were tired, well I was, but exhilarated for having done a good thing.
My special thanks to Suzy for arranging, and Sue, Pauline, Karen and Charlotte for putting up with me and enabling them to walk at a very slow pace so they could keep up with me. Thank you ladies. Put me down for a place next year.
Saturday 16th April 2016
Norwich Cathedral Service
A small group of thirteen survivors from Suffolk SoBS travelled to Norwich Cathedral for a service of remembrance for those who have taken their lives. This year a very emotional address was given by Rev Chris Copsey chaplain at County Hall and Norfolk Coroners Court. Survivors were invited to light a candle to represent the life of someone who had died by suicide. As you can see from the picture the candles look like a pool of light which could also reflect the pain and sorry of those left behind in their grief.
This year each family was invited to take home a candle to stand beside a photo of their loved one and when we find ourselves in a dark place to light that candle .The words ‘In the darkness and shadows warm us with your love and light’ were written on the candle this kind gesture was much appreciated by survivors.
The Police, bereavement organisations and support workers all attended the service
On the 30th April 2014 while on a military exercise in the Arizona desert, Trevor learned the devastating news that his 19yr old daughter Chloe Rose Bygate had been found dead in her flat.
Following Trevor’s loss, he has been on a personal quest to raise as much funds for charity as possible, and he is hoping to receive support and sponsorship from as many kind friends, people and companies as possible.
In Chloe’s memory, Trevor will be taking part in the 2016 London marathon to raise awareness for the Royal British Legion who have shown him fantastic and amazing support during his darkest days. Then between the 27/08/2016 and 28/08/2016 he will be taking part in the South Coast Challenge, with money raised going to SoBS.
Not content at that, more events are in the process of being organised: a 24 hour Cycle in Tesco, Ipswich, a fun run on the base he works on and a John O’Groats to Lands End run at some point in the next 24 months.
On Trevor’s JustGiving page, he acknowledges the support he has received at his local SoBS group in Ipswich. He states: “SOBS has been a hugely influential group to be part of, this is because all members have been through a huge life changing event that we all have in common. Losing a loved one by suicide is probably one of the most horrendous thing to go through but all group members are very, very brave and we all support each other and understand what each and everyone is going through, with no questions asked and you’re never judged. Tears and the pain are shared in the group without anyone feeling silly. I’m so glad I found SOBS.”
Please help Trevor raise money for SoBS and read more about his story by visiting his JustGiving page.
Willis Ltd. of Ipswich raises £500 for Suffolk SoBS
Time to Talk About It: A Service of Reflection for Those Affected by Suicide
A service of reflection for people affected by suicide to be held at :
St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 4JJ
Saturday 27th February 2016
10:30 – 11:30am
followed by refreshments
A time together with music, words and space for reflection for those living with loss and grief, and journeying towards hope and healing.
This is a free event that is open to anyone affected by suicide. If you would like to attend please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of seats you require. Places will be given on a first come first served basis.
6th September 2015
A memorial bike show was held on September 6th in Clopton, near Woodbridge, in memory of Tig who died in January 2014.
Organised by his family and his motorcycle club, the show was held to raise funds for two charities – SoBS and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. The weather was truly glorious and the show was incredibly well attended and supported, with everyone being generous to a fault.
The money raised was astounding – over £800 to be split between the two charities.
28th August 2015
Dress Down Day at Willis
On Friday 28th August Suffolk SoBS was given a golden opportunity to not only raise funds but awareness of the impact suicide has on those left behind. Vicki, employed at Willis was supported admirably by her colleagues; it was clear from the onset the day was destined to be a rip roaring success. I have never seen so many cakes and we sold every single one raising £216.14. A further £340.50 was raised with the raffle . At the end of the day an amazing £1,312.76 was donated by Willis to Suffolk SoBS with the rest of the funds coming from a collection at the beginning of the day. Thank you does not really sum up how overwhelming it was to receive so much support from the Willis community the money will be spent to support survivors bereaved by suicide in Suffolk.
27th August 2015
Anne’s Poem gets a mention in The Maldon and Burnham Standard
On Thursday 27th August Anne’s poem “A Different Kind of Bereavement” was featured in the Maldon and Burnham Standard, alongside an article explaining that her poem would be read out at a National Conference on suicide.
In the article Anne described how she started attending Suffolk SoBS in 2012 following the loss of her son Stuart to suicide. She then went on to explain how suicide amongst men has reached almost epidemic proportions, and how they very often bottle up their emotions leading to feelings of inadequacy and isolation.
(Click here to read Anne’s poem)
2nd August 2015
Andi Hopgood Head Shave Event
On Sunday 2nd August survivors watched in full admiration of Andi’s head shave at the Pump & Grind cafe in Ipswich. Her sacrifice not only raised the profile of Suffolk SoBS and the charity SANE but £2,000 in donations. Each charity received £1,000. Suffolk SoBS are delighted and eternally thankful to Andi for helping us with the ongoing costs to provide the support needed for those bereaved by suicide. Brenda a survivor of only three years duration bravely spoke at the event about the impact of suicide on her life.
18th July 2015
Annual Garden Party Fundraiser
Katie and Tony held their annual garden party on Saturday 18th July in memory of their beloved son, Mark. Both felt it a fitting way to remember Mark for his bravery and also for his love for both family and friends. The raffle held on the day raised £220 for the Unitarian Church (Cambridge) and Suffolk SoBS.
19th June 2015 Charity Karting Fundraiser
On 19th June, members from the Ipswich and Brentwood SoBS groups took part in a charity karting race run by Ford Motor Company Karting Club at Lakeside Karting. The race was a 2.5 hour endurance race but of course it did not come without its obstacles. This included 25 degree heat, non-aerodynamic fancy dress and 1 engine blow out!
Although the team started in 4th place due to their heroic fundraising attempt, unfortunately their less than impressive driving skills meant they didn’t take away a trophy at the end of the day. They did however have a lot of fun and took away plenty of tips for next year!
The money raised was split between three charities, raising a total £566 for SoBS. The money will be split 50/50 with the Ipswich/Lowestoft/Bury group and the Dartford/Brentwood group. The team would like to thank all members for their donations and support, it was greatly appreciated and they were overwhelmed with the money raised for SoBS.
16th May 2015
CLASP Ten Mile Charity Walk
CLASP stands for counselling, living advice, suicide prevention and the above event was formally named “Walking Out of Darkness”.
The weather was perfect on Saturday for walking and the days event was well planned by our host, CLASP. Before the ten mile walk commenced we were able to listen to many speakers involved in mental health issues. This was followed by the warm up team who took the stage and put us through our paces. Drinks, sweets and poppers were handed out and available to all.
We began the walk from the OXO Tower and headed along the Thames path to the Millennium bridge. It was a privilege to see from the Thames so many famous buildings and it is impossible to name them all. Tower bridge, Houses of Parliament, London eye and
Chelsea embankment to name but a few. Then we walked past Battersea dogs home and at the very end saw preparation being made for the RHS Chelsea flower show.
Walk completed, we arrived at Battersea park bandstand to be met by CLASP who had arranged for walkers to be greeted with live music, a photo booth, adult trampoline and of course much needed refreshments. To our surprise everything was free.
Survivors discussed next year all of us wearing on our backpacks a picture of the person we have lost by suicide. If ten miles seems a step to far for some survivors walking the second half only (a five mile walk) might be the answer. It was a fabulous day out for very tragic reasons, but also very healing. A big thank you to everyone who raised the profile and almost £1400 in funds for SoBS on a national and county level.
19th November 2014
Suzy Clifford Awarded Joint “Citizen of the Year” Commendation
Suzy Clifford has jointly received the St Edmund’s Day “Citizen of the Year” award for her outstanding work in the community in setting up local support groups to help others.
Speaking at the ceremony at the town council’s offices on Angel Hill, chairman Stefan Oliver said: “Suzy has used her personal experience to help others in a similar position. She has set up local support groups for the national organisation ‘Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide’ (SoBS).
A new Lowestoft support group for people who have been bereaved by suicide has been launched by Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SoBS). The Lowestoft SoBS group is the third in Suffolk (joining Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich).
The launch event heard the touching personal testimonies of people who have been bereaved by suicide. Darren, from Suffolk, spoke of his struggles after he was the one to find his mother at home after she had taken her own life.
“I was trying to be strong for everybody and that was to be my downfall. I was suffering flashbacks, I had nightmares, I lost my appetite, and I had problems with anger. It changed when I saw a poster for SoBS in a waiting room at the West Suffolk Hospital and I got in touch. It was such a relief, I couldn’t really talk to my wife, or my friends. SoBS made a huge difference for me. It’s been a long journey but without SoBS I’d still be struggling now”.
Faced with a sudden, often unexpected and sometimes violent death, the bereaved experience a complex grief that typically includes strong feelings of guilt, self-reproach and questioning. Those bereaved by suicide often feel isolated at a time when they are hurting, suffering mental anguish and are vulnerable themselves to thoughts of suicide.
The launch on Tuesday 14 October at Orbis Energy was supported by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney (HealthEast), Suffolk Coroner’s Office, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Constabulary and British Transport Police.
Suffolk SoBS Launches New Group in Ipswich
Following on from the success of the first Suffolk SoBS group opened in Bury St Edmunds in March 2012, a second group was launched in Ipswich. The evening was attended by professionals who come in contact with survivors during their working day, and many survivors from the Ipswich area who were interested in accessing the service.
Several survivors offered to give personal testimonials on the night. This takes great courage on the part of the survivor and proved to be very powerful. Overall, the night was a great success.
First SoBS Group Launched in Suffolk
The first Suffolk SoBS group was launched in Bury St Edmunds in March 2012. It is a service much needed and has been sorely lacking in the county. Survivors often have an overwhelming need to be amongst others who speak the same language.
About thirty people attended the group’s launch event at the Self Centre, in Kempson Way. Included in the attendees were representatives from the emergency services, undertakers, solicitors and potential volunteers. Guest of honour was actor Hugh Fraser, who played Captain Hastings in Poirot.