May 20 2013 Latest news:
By RICHARD WOOD
Monday, October 1, 2012
Suicide is the biggest killer of men aged under 35 in Britain.
It’s a topic that is not easy to talk about, with the idea of turning to others for help not seen as the ‘manly’ thing to do. But more than 40 people who have seen their lives turned upside down when a loved one took their own life gathered at Ellough Airfield, at Beccles, this weekend, as they tried to make a change.
The group, who ranged from 17 to 60 years old, were watched by many more friends and relatives as they took part in a mass skydive, with the hope of raising awareness and funds to set up a specialist support service in Norfolk.
They were also remembering Nick Dobson, 26, Paul Outlaw, 31, Jimmy Lain, 31, and Nick Thomas, 28, who have all taken their own lives.
The group were led by Suzanne Lain and James North, who saw their lives torn apart earlier this year when two of the people closest to them killed themselves.
The whole town of Watton was shocked when Jimmy Lain, husband to Mrs Lain and neighbour to Mr North, killed himself on April 30, before friend Nicholas Thomas then killed himself on June 7.
Mrs Lain, 26, said her husband, who fathered her two children, was “incredibly kind, giving and generous” and what happened came as a huge shock. “I still don’t really believe it. It feels like he’s working away and will be coming home for the weekend,” she said.
Mrs Lain said that so many people in the town had been affected by their deaths and the suicides of others that they wanted to do something to stop it happening again.
“In our area and worldwide, guys have to realise it is okay to feel a bit rubbish at times. They need to talk openly about their problems and come and get help,” she said.
“We need to change this stigma of how men should be. The pressures of going to work to feed the family are not that much of a big deal.
“I don’t want to be without my husband, I want to be married. I’d much rather live in a small house, I’d live anywhere as long as he was with me. I don’t want to feel this hurt, this pain we all feel now.”
The idea of the skydive came from former neighbour James North, who wanted to do something positive after a very difficult year for the town.
Mr North, 34, had sought counselling himself and was worried that someone else would commit suicide.
“We live in a small market town and it brought the town to its knees,” he said. “They were really good-looking lads, Jimmy did anything for anyone. He crossed the other side of the road to say hello, and had a massive grin all the time. Nick was very similar to myself, he enjoyed going to the pub, enjoyed football and fishing trips. I still don’t get it, I have no answers.”
Money raised from the skydive will be added to a campaign that has been launched to bring a Calmzone to Norfolk. A total of £100,000 needs to be raised to establish the service from Calm, the Campaign Against Living Miserably, which would help to intensively promote local services.
The charity has also set up zones in Merseyside and London, with the Merseyside zone helping to see a fall in suicide in men between 15 and 35 by 55pc in 10 years.
Jane Powell, Calm chief executive, said: “I think everyone has been shocked by the impact of the suicides locally and want to raise the issue and make sure guys in Norfolk get the help when they need it.”
She added: “We try to get the message of that both men and women have problems. Having issues does not make you less of a man, it just makes you human.”
Patrick Welsh, of Carbrooke, and Simon Blackwell, of Watton, will also be riding to Italy and back to raise funds and awareness.
To support the Norfolk campaign visit www.anicecalmride.com and for more on Calm visit www.thecalmzone.net or call 0800 585858.
The Samaritans also provide a confidential listening ear. Call them on 08457 90 90 90.