A bench and tree have been placed in a park in Leamington in memory of all those who have taken their own lives and those who they left behind.
On Monday July 20, members of the Leamington branch of Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) met in Victoria Park for the planting of a tree and placing of a bench close by.
Over a period of time various fundraising events took place to support SOBS which is a registered charity.
This included a donation from Asda in Leamington where customers’ support raised £500.
It was decided by the group to purchase a tree and a bench in memory of those who have taken their own lives and those left behind.
A spokesperson from the Leamington branch of SOBS said: “The bench is situated opposite the tree so you can sit and over time see the tree grow. This is something living representing what is a terrible event in anyone’s life, loved ones and friends find it difficult to sometimes get support and that is why SOBS is so important.
“The tree is originally from China and was introduced into this country in 1751. It is known as The Tree from Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), given this name because of its rapid growth and it is said to be reaching up to heaven.”
Eric Lane, one of the members of the Leamington branch, said: “My fiancée Emma Cave took her life on September 10 2015 aged 30. I am one of the few members of the Leamington group who lived with the threat of suicide daily.
“When I and many others lost a loved one to suicide there was no real help out there. Suicide and the grief that goes with it are very different to grief in many ways. To be able to talk to like- minded people about such things as difficulty with relatives and information about inquests, is extremely helpful.
“You no longer feel alone as if you are the only one in this position. You can get advice from others who are in or have been in the same position.
“The tree and bench are important because they are local to Leamington to go and sit and remember. Many suicide victims go somewhere they feel comfortable.
“With my fiancée I went to Skegness and whilst it is not always possible to travel at a moment’s notice when you feel the need, it is easy to go to Victoria Park in Leamington and just sit and watch as the tree grows while at the bench. The Leamington branch is run by Jacqui and Dave Smith who draw on their own personal experiences of suicide to help others who find themselves in a similar position.”
There will be a fundraising event for the Leamington branch on September 10, which is also World Suicide Prevention Day. The event will feature an open mic night and will be supported by local musicians. It will take place at the Fusilier pub in Sydenham Drive at 7pm. Entry is free.
Jacqui can be contacted on 02476 302969 and the national SOBS is: helpline 0300 111 5065 open 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday.