The family of a Morpeth man who took his own life in November has spoken of their heartbreak in the hope that other people who may be suffering from mental health issues can get help.
And an eight-day sponsored walk is being organised from the Tyneside Irish Centre, in Newcastle, to Celtic Park (aka Paradise) in Glasgow in memory of Glenn Dixon, who was a Celtic FC fan.
Funds raised during the activity will go to Tyneside and Northumberland Mind and the Celtic FC Foundation.
Glenn grew up in Morpeth and went to Liverpool John Moores University, where he gained a degree in history. After that he returned to the North East, but struggled to find work.
The 32-year-old went in and out of low-paid jobs before he moved to a flat in Percy Main, North Shields, and became a carer for Age UK.
His mum Jill, of Morpeth, said: “Glenn was always happy, always laughing – the life and soul of the party.
“He was a really kind, generous person who literally would not hurt a fly and would give the shirt off his back to help others.
“He managed to convince everybody that things were fine. But his mental health had been deteriorating.”
In August last year, Glenn came to the attention of the authorities after there was a disturbance at his flat. He had been drinking and he had harmed himself – he threatened to take his own life.
Glenn was taken to hospital, where he had a mental health assessment.
He was then given an appointment three months later in November to help deal with his mental health issues. However, Glenn took his own life before that appointment.
Now the family, including Glenn’s dad Richard, and his friend Phil Morrison, are helping to raise awareness of mental health and raising funds for charity.
The 150-mile walk will be held from August 24 to 31. The public are invited to join in with day one or day eight, but the number of walkers for the whole route is now up to capacity.
The start and end points were chosen as such because Celtic Park was Glenn’s ‘happy place’ and tried to get to matches whenever he could.
At other times, he would watch the games live at the Tyneside Irish Centre surrounded by friends.
Jill, a teacher who works as a private tutor, said: “It is easier for people to say they have a physical illness. It’s hard for them to say they need help for mental health problems – and yet there should be no distinction between the two.
“If we can try and prevent even one other person from taking their life and get them to seek help, and realise ‘actually I’m not ok’, then this will be worth it.”
A supportive message from the office of The Duchess of Northumberland includes the following: ‘It is a remarkable tribute to Glenn that you are turning this terrible tragedy into a memorable fund-raiser for such a worthy cause.
‘The Duchess wholeheartedly supports your fund-raising event.’
Members of the public are being invited to sponsor a walker or make a donation online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ToParadiseforGlenn
The organisers are also seeking donations to support the walkers en-route and raffle prizes for an event to be held in August.
For more information, go to the To Paradise for Glenn Facebook page.