Friday, 2nd June, marked a significant milestone as I had the privilege of attending the inaugural launch of the #BatonOfHopeUK. This extraordinary event aimed to raise awareness of suicide nationwide, leaving an indelible mark on my heart. Hosted at the illustrious Intercontinental Hotel in London, the evening featured a black-tie 3-course dinner, esteemed guest speakers, a charity auction, captivating music, and an atmosphere filled with the joy of dancing.
A Night to Remember
As I stepped into the Intercontinental Hotel, I was immediately enveloped in an atmosphere of anticipation and a shared commitment to a cause close to our hearts. The exquisite black-tie dinner was a delightful feast for the senses, with every dish carefully crafted to perfection, showcasing the organisers’ attention to detail and dedication.
One of the many highlights of the evening was the presence of remarkable guest speakers who shared their stories, insights, and heartfelt messages. Their words resonated deeply, a powerful reminder of the importance of raising awareness about suicide. The bravery and vulnerability displayed by these individuals were truly inspiring, igniting a fire within all attendees to contribute towards creating a society that supports and uplifts those in need.
A Bid for Hope
The charity auction was an exhilarating experience, as bidders vied for unique items, all in the spirit of supporting the #BatonOfHopeUK. The energy in the room was palpable as each bid represented a step forward in the collective fight against suicide. Witnessing the generosity and commitment of the attendees was a humbling reminder of the strength of the community and the impact we can make when we come together for a common cause.
Dancing for a Cause
The evening reached its crescendo as the dance floor came alive with infectious energy and enthusiasm. It was a joyous celebration of life and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. The sight of people from different walks of life moving in harmony served as a poignant reminder that unity and solidarity are key in tackling the issue of suicide.
The Baton of Hope Campaign
The #BatonOfHopeUK was born out of the shared grief of Mike McCarthy and Steve Phillip, fathers who tragically lost their sons, Ross and Jordan, to suicide. Their friendship and determination to make a difference led them to become persuasive advocates for change in UK suicide prevention policy. They met with the Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP, then Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to share their knowledge and lived experience.
In June 2022, Mr. Javid delivered a keynote speech at the headquarters of the suicide prevention charity PAPYRUS, emphasizing the importance of providing better and more targeted support to those at risk of suicide. He acknowledged the need for a new and ambitious long-term plan for suicide prevention.
Mike and Steve secured Mr. Javid’s endorsement and support for their Baton of Hope campaign, which was announced on BBC Breakfast the following day. The Baton tour aims to raise awareness across the country, and Sheffield is one of the cities on its route. With its beautiful greenspaces, abundant trees, and forward-thinking approach to technology, Sheffield offers a unique and meaningful backdrop for the Baton’s journey.
The Baton in Sheffield
Sheffield, known for its vibrant culture and scenic landscapes, holds a special place in the Baton of Hope tour. As the Baton walks through the city, it highlights Sheffield’s commitment to promoting mental health and preventing suicide. With five rivers, 800 managed greenspaces, and more trees per person than any other European city, Sheffield provides a delightful environment for the Baton’s journey. In line with the city’s focus on technology and sustainability, one stretch of the tour will be carried out in an electric vehicle, symbolizing Sheffield’s dedication to the future.
Attending the inaugural launch of the #BatonOfHopeUK was an evening filled with inspiration, purpose and a shared commitment to combating the issue of suicide. The event provided a platform for remarkable guest speakers and a spirited charity auction and highlighted the dedication of individuals like Mike McCarthy and Steve Phillip. Their vision, alongside the support of influential figures like Mr Javid, shapes the Baton of Hope campaign as it travels through cities like Sheffield, leaving a trail of awareness and hope in its wake.
Resources for Support:
In times of need, it’s essential to reach out for support. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please consider contacting the following helpline services:
Call 116 123
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
Call 0800 585858
PAPYRUS (Prevention of Young Suicide)
Call 0800 068 4141
Remember, you don’t have to face these challenges alone. Reach out for help, and together we can make a difference. If you prefer to contact me directly, feel free to contact me at 0114 670 081 or via email at email@example.com.