Fundraising events to remember young father who took his own life

Rebecca Barnes with her husband Jimmy and their two children
Rebecca Barnes with her husband Jimmy and their two children

A Hastings woman whose husband took his own life in November 2017 has organised a charity ball to encourage young men living in Bexhill, Hastings and St Leonards to openly discuss deteriorating mental health.

Rebecca Barnes was widowed, aged 26, when her husband, and the father to her two young children, Jimmy Barnes died on November 26, 2017.

Rebecca Barnes and her husband Jimmy

Rebecca Barnes and her husband Jimmy

In July 2018, she will be hosting a charity ball to raise awareness and funds for the charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) which aims to bring the suicide rate down among men.

She said: “In the early hours of Sunday morning – late November 2017 – I had come home in search of my husband who had disappeared that night, to find he had taken his life.

“In that moment life changed dramatically. However, with support of family, friends and financially from my husband’s employer – Triangle Fire Systems – and the funeral, Christmas and New Year blurred by and in 2018 I was still here going strong trying to rebuild mine and my children’s lives.”

In March 2018, Rebecca said she was ‘shocked’ to find statistics released by CALM which showed 84 men commit suicide per week in the UK, with equally shocking statistics relating to young men in Bexhill, Hastings and St Leonards.

Jimmy Barnes

Jimmy Barnes

She added: “The statistics need to be tackled. Stigma surrounding suicide needs to be addressed so early detection of deteriorating mental health can be openly discussed and save lives. Make it OK for young men to turn around and say ‘no, I’m not OK’. Jimmy didn’t. He suppressed his feelings and covered up well. I had no idea or inkling what I was going to walk into that night.”

In memory of Jimmy and to potentially save others, Rebecca is hosting the charity ball to help CALM provide a vital service for suicidal men and offer support to bereaved families.

The event – sponsored by Triangle Fire Systems – will be held at the Leeford Place Hotel, in Battle, on July 14, 2018, and features a night of music, casino, three course meal and a charity auction.

Rebecca added: “With one of the world’s most notorious suicide spots located in the county and visible in the horizon to most residents in Hastings, St Leonards, and Bexhill, it is about time more is done to solve temporary problems that are increasingly resulting in such a fatal permanent solution.

“If only Jimmy felt it was OK to speak out.”

Tickets to the ball are available by calling Rebecca on 07969 996709.

Businesses have also been asked to donate to the auction by contacting Rebecca.

Jimmy’s mother will also be fundraising for the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) by running the 16 miles from Eastbourne Pier and Hastings Pier.

As well as CALM, Kym Browning will be raising money for You Raise Me Up – a charity that supports parents who have lost a child aged 16 to 25 – and Hastings Wanderers football team – her youngest son’s football club.

On Saturday, July 28, 2018, Kym will be running alongside her husband Lee before being met at the old bathing pool site in Hastings by the Hastings Wanderers football team.

Together, they will run the final mile and a half to Hastings Pier where they will be met by friends and family.

They will then head to the London Trader pub for a celebration in memory of their much-loved son.

Kym said: “On November 26, 2017, our eldest son Jimmy took his own life at the age of 25. The reason for Jimmy’s death is not and may never be known. However, the one thing we know for certain is that life will never be the same again.

“It has left a massive hole in our hearts and the emotions we now feel are something we never want another family to deal with.

“We wish to raise the awareness of male suicide and in turn raise as much money as possible to aid the charity work that is ongoing to prevent these unthinkable events. Every week 84 men in the UK take their own lives which I’m sure you will agree is far too many.”

You can donate to Kym’s page by visiting justgiving.com/crowdfunding/kym-browning.