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SOS2 – Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire

On Friday 29 January 2016, SOS2 was held in the village hall at Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire.

Even though the weather was dismal – windy and prone to prolonged outbursts of heavy rain, that didn’t stop the organisers, speakers, charity representatives or the public from turning out in force for a hugely successful SOS – Silence of Suicide initiative. In fact, over 90 people braved the elements for a cause they support so passionately.

Sarah Maxwell, who facilitated SOS2, had done a fantastic job securing a perfect venue and everything ran as clockwork, including “Sarah’s Kitchen” , which dispensed tea, coffee and bottled water, together with breads and pastries donated by Le Parisienne, a local bakers

Prior to discussions getting underway, Michael and Yvette were proud to announce their partnership with leading health and wellbeing charity The Kaleidoscope Plus Group, which was formalised that same day. We were also able to unveil our first ever website which we hope you find beneficial, especially as it is built up over the coming weeks and months.

Sheila McMahon, a mental health professional who stages her own shows, introduced herself to the audience in her own inimitable style and was there to support anyone in distress.

Apart from the phenomenal public support, SOS2 was attended by volunteers from the Samaritans and other charities, making it a well rounded and informative evening during which the discussions were wide ranging, with contributions from those bereaved by suicide and those who had attempted suicide. We were also attended by people who merely had an interest in the subject.

All in all, SOS that evening represented a huge array of areas within the mental health arena, and delivered discourse on a much broader spectrum of topics than we thought we’d have time for.

It was heartening and encouraging to see the interaction between attendees, both during the initiative and afterwards, where people were exchanging stories and phone numbers. This is exactly what we want to see – the continuation of discussion and the extension of networks, meaning more people are doing more talking.

At the end of the evening, Michael and I presented Sarah Maxwell with a bottle of bubbly for all her efforts and although she was reticent to talk in front of everyone, we thought her ‘acceptance of alcohol’ speech (!) was wonderfully executed.

Michael and I wish to extend our thanks to the following contributors who made the evening possible:

• Tewkesbury Abbey
• The University of Gloucestershire
• Sarah Maxwell
• Sheila McMahon
• The Kaleidoscope Plus Group
• Jonathan Trace
• Le Parisienne Pastries
• Binary Website Design

Keep checking our website for details of the next SOS initiative which we hope to have arranged in the very near future.

Yvette & Michael