A girl’s powerful message on suicide spurred fellow pupils on to support a charity in memory of a Salford firefighter who took his own life.
Libby Mitchell wrote the compelling letter as part of her Year 6 persuasive writing work at St Teresa’s RC Primary School in Irlam.
She used it as an opportunity to encourage people to support the Jamie Horrocks Trust, the charity set up in memory of 36-year-old Irlam firefighter Jamie, who tragically took his own life in 2013.
In it, the 10-year-old says: “In 2017 there were 5,821 suicides registered in the UK. It makes me feel sad that people are thinking of things like they are not loved when they actually are, it is not right that they have to live like that.
“Could you imagine feeling like nobody loved you but they actually did.”
Libby then went on to include some quotes she researched about suicide.
These included: “You have the power to say ‘this is not how my story will end’,” and “Place your hand over your heart, can you feel it? That is called your purpose. You’re alive for a reason so don’t give up.”
Following Libby’s letter, her class chose to donate money that teachers usually spend on Christmas presents for pupils to Jamie’s Trust, a charity that’s well supported by the school as it’s where Jamie’s niece and nephews attended.
Headteacher Sandra Burgess said: “The Jamie Horrocks Trust is close to the hearts of many of the children in our school. Many of our families have links to Irlam Fire Service and knew Jamie and his family.
“One of our families who have had children in our school are the founders of the charity – Jamie’s sister, Tammy Pike.
“The children have supported fundraising events, attended football tournaments in Jamie’s memory and have supported his nieces and nephews in school.”
Tammy’s husband Dave, whose youngest son Daniel is still at St Teresa’s, is delighted that Libby chose to highlight the trust.
Speaking to the M.E.N in what is Children’s Mental Health Week , he said: “We were made aware of the Year 6 class donating to The Jamie Horrocks Trust around Christmas time when the school contacted us, but at that time we didn’t know it was down to one pupil writing a letter in support of us.
“It was only when the school emailed us a copy of Libby’s letter that we found out and to then read what she wrote absolutely blew us away.
“It’s such a well-written heartfelt letter, it’s unbelievable for someone of her age to be able to put that onto paper.”
Dave says the trust has ‘really taken off’ in the last six months and has teamed up with Salford Reds and Salford FC to look at building techniques into training sessions that aid mental health resilience.
He added: “The school have been tremendously supportive of our children since Jamie took his own life and we will never forget that.
“That’s one of the biggest reasons why we want to raise more awareness around mental health and suicide prevention in our young people and help our children understand that it is OK to speak up if they are feeling down, whilst helping them manage their mental health resilience when taking part in the many activities that they do.
“It’s so wonderful that Libby chose to write this letter. Ultimately it’s helped bring more attention to the Jamie Horrocks Trust which has led to more people wanting to fundraise for us, so for us she has quite literally saved lives.
“Well done Libby, we are so so proud of you, thank you so much.”