Mike said, "If she was looking down she would say, 'dad, don't let others do what I did.'"
Trigger warning: This article contains themes of suicide that some readers may find distressing
Three dads united by a common purpose have been trekking hundreds of miles. Their objective is to raise awareness of suicide in memory of their daughters. They have completed two long-distance walks and are running a campaign to make it a mandatory school lesson. Tim, one of the three fathers, said, "After you have been through something like we and our families have been through, you've got to try and get something positive out of it," as reported by BBC. Andy Airey, Mike Palmer, and Tim Owen, all lost their daughters to suicide. They said that they are part of a club that no one wants to be part of yet they keep meeting new people with similar experiences.
Tim lost his daughter Emily to suicide in March 2020, she was just 18 years old. Mike and Andy's daughters, Beth and Sophie, died in 2018. Beth was 17 and Sophie was 29 years old. Andy said, "I've got a Sophie-sized hole in my life that can never be filled, but by doing something to help other people you become more protected from that gaping void."
As we leave the Festive Period and the world returns to “normal” we wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone who sent us thoughtful messages, those who donated to @PAPYRUS_Charity via our JG page and everyone who signed our petition.— 3DadsWalking (@3dadswalking) January 3, 2023
It all makes a difference
Thank you pic.twitter.com/qPxWlMCChM
Meanwhile, Mike said that he knows his daughter did not want to die. "If she was looking down she would say 'dad, don't let others do what I did.'" Tim believes that one has to "keep going as a human being but if one can make things better for others, that gives hope." The trio learned many things about suicide quickly and they were shocked to know that it is the biggest killer of under 35s in the UK. Andy said, "If that's the case why aren't we doing something about it?" The three fathers started their first walk in October 2021 which took off from Andy's house in Morland, Cumbria then they went to Sale in Greater Manchester where Mike stays, and finished at Tim's house in Shouldham, Norfolk. The trio walked about 300 miles for 15 days and raised $1.2m for a charity called Papyrus and got endorsements from celebrities like Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman.
The moment we discovered we had won a @PrideOfBritain award, shortly after completing our 600-mile walk in memory of our daughters - Emily, Beth & Sophie.— 3DadsWalking (@3dadswalking) November 2, 2022
You can help us save more lives by donating to @PAPYRUS_Charity & signing our petitionhttps://t.co/9Ie9dkuJBL pic.twitter.com/nzk5aCyDc9
Their second walk was all about the campaign. They want suicide prevention to be part of the national curriculum. They walked for 600 miles in a month between the four parliaments in the UK to meet politicians so that they may accept their requests. They received a good luck message from none other than Daniel Craig. They also had a folk band the Young Uns pen a ballad in their honor and they got the chance to spend a night at the house of Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham."What they are doing is tremendously important," Burnham said. "It's a conversation the nation just has to have."
However, their predominant memory from the walk was meeting parents who have lost their children to suicide. They met a man named Pete Kelly whose son died, and another parent Tracey Hargreaves who lost his son to suicide. They met a couple of other parents whose children died due to suicide.
We’re close to getting 150,000 signatures on our petition. Please sign & share. Help us get the decision-makers to make a lifesaving decision. https://t.co/MoMPvh67Ho pic.twitter.com/TxhQopXKz3— 3DadsWalking (@3dadswalking) November 20, 2022
Tim said, "People came from across the country to walk with us." He added, "They were excited about walking with us but when you learned why they were walking because they had lost a son or daughter, to have that support was absolutely incredible." They trekked in Belfast, Edinburgh, and Cardiff finally ending down The Mall in London. Their hard work got them a "Pride of Britain Award" and they were called "incredible" by Carol Vorderman, and she mentioned that "[Suicide's] a lot bigger than we recognize."
It's been a month since we finished our walk in memory of Sophie, Beth & Emily— 3DadsWalking (@3dadswalking) November 8, 2022
Our petition to get suicide added to the school curriculum is now 4th biggest on the Govt website. Pls sign & share ensure this is debated in parliamenthttps://t.co/MoMPvh67Ho pic.twitter.com/3AsilR3QDU
They do not have any more walks planned for now but they are not stopping their campaign. More than 150,000 people signed an online petition which is enough to consider a debate on the subject in the Parliament. Tim said, "We can keep walking and we can keep talking but it's the power-makers, the politicians, who need to make the difference now."
If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is, please contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)