Baton of Hope Tour to visit North Shields and Whitley Bay to raise awareness of nationwide suicide prevention initiative

The Baton of Hope, the biggest suicide prevention initiative the UK has ever seen, will visit North Shields and Whitley Bay on the first ever tour of its kind.
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Highlighting the suicide crisis that sees 17 people take their own lives every day, the charity’s Baton, its iconic physical symbol, has embarked on a tour of 12 cities across the UK, culminating in a trip to Downing Street on Thursday, July 6.

The Baton will bring a unifying message of hope to the thousands of people across the country that are suffering as a result of suicide bereavement or personal mental ill health, visiting Newcastle and North Tyneside on Tuesday, June 27.

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A unique and magnificent piece, the Baton has been made by Thomas Lyte, goldsmiths and silversmiths to the late Queen Elizabeth II, and makers of the Emirates FA Cup and Rugby World Cup’s Webb Ellis Trophy.

Jayne Walsham, whose daughter Jodi took her own life in 2021, is organising the Newcastle leg.Jayne Walsham, whose daughter Jodi took her own life in 2021, is organising the Newcastle leg.
Jayne Walsham, whose daughter Jodi took her own life in 2021, is organising the Newcastle leg.

Project lead for the Newcastle leg is Jayne Walsham, whose daughter Jodi took her own life in January 2021. Jodi had ASD and battled with undiagnosed ADHD, lack of support and not receiving the help she was entitled to, which triggered heightened anxiety.

When two job offers were withdrawn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jodi’s purpose and stability were taken away and this led to a decline in her mental health.

Jayne, who will also carry the Baton, says, “I believe everyone needs to unite and support suicide prevention to really make a difference.

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"Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in this country and we need to start talking about it.

"We are losing too much potential and promise and it’s my mission to break the stigma.

"The Baton of Hope will help to bring both change and awareness and I am proud to be leading the tour in Newcastle.”

At 8am, the Baton will leave North Shields, travelling to Whitley Bay. At Spanish City, the Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SoBS) will host the Baton and David Malone’s Male

Voice Choir will sing the Baton of Hope anthem.

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A trio of supercars will take the Baton to the Blue Flame Sports Ground, where 50 children from local schools will be in attendance and will enjoy training sessions from The Rugby Falcons and FA coaches.

In Jesmond Dene the Baton will be met by members of the emergency services at Millfield House and Melody Reed will perform Stay, a song she has written based on a poem about suicide. The Baton then moves on to the Ouseburn where there will be a small festival of art and music, whilst The Rock Choir will perform at the Millennium Bridge area in Gateshead.

From here, the Baton will go to Grey’s Monument to be welcomed by ReCoCo, a mental health support service where people can learn from each other’s lived experiences.

Local charities, MPs and the Mayor will be present at Newcastle University for talks about the work being done by these charities including Anxious Minds, If u care share, The Headlight Project and Samaritans to support those in the local community suffering with mental ill health, before the Baton reaches the Royal Victoria Infirmary, where the RVI Choir will perform.

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At 6pm, the Baton will reach its final destination, St James’ Park, where the doors will be open to the public for an event with inspirational speakers and entertainers.

The event will be free and open to the public.

Full details of the route can be found here:

The Baton of Hope was co-founded by Mike McCarthy, whose son Ross battled depression for a decade before taking his own life in 2021. Ross left behind a young son, a fiancée, and a heartfelt request that his family campaign for better mental health support and Mike is committed to honouring this final wish through the charity.