Those left behind in the aftermath of a suicide carry the pain of its loss undiminished for the rest of their lives – and a charity set up to support them says too many still suffer alone and unsupported.
But Freemasons are providing support to redress that balance by donating £2,000 to the Scunthorpe branch of national charity SOBS – Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide.
Members of St Lawrence Lodge and the Lodge of St John have each given £500, both of which donations have been match funded by the national Freemasons’ charity the MCF.
The money will be used to replace the soft furnishings and curtains in a seaside caravan operated for the last six years at Thorpe Park near Cleethorpes by SOBS volunteers. It’s a haven offering periods of respite to survivors, or for otherwise impossible seaside holidays for the single parent families that suicide can create.
The caravan was bought after four years of intense fundraising to gather the £46,000 to buy and furnish it. The SOBS branch organiser is Nina Shrimpton, who lost her son Russell to suicide 11 years ago. She said it was hard to get mental health support. “It’s just not available,” she said. “We do what we can, and providing the caravan is part of that. People need to get away, particularly after a funeral.”
The facility is now six years old, and volunteers Nina and Judith Johnson want to freshen up its interior. “We provide all of that. People who need to use the caravan don’t need to be bothered by having to sort out bedding, so we make sure that’s all done,” said Nina.
“We have tried to make the caravan into a home away from home, with games to play and bikes for the children to ride. The contribution from the Freemasons is massive. With your money we can buy new bedding and replace the curtains, which tend to fade in the strong sunlight. You’re supporting us in helping people to get away, and we’ve had some lovely feedback from the people we’ve helped,” she added.
Although it’s the Scunthorpe group, volunteers offer help to people from as far afield as Mablethorpe, Skegness, the Isle of Axholme and Grimsby.