A 10-year-old Cockermouth boy has been recognised by the Prime Minister for his outstanding efforts in raising suicide awareness.
Shaun Mayall, a pupil at Fairfield Primary School, has been given a Points of Light award, which highlight people making a difference in their community.
Shaun lost his dad, Andy, to suicide in 2014 and decided to honour his memory by challenging himself to run 10k.
Andy’s birthday would have been on February 20, making the Prime Minister’s recognition this week even more poignant.
As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, Shaun has been unable to complete the challenge due to take place in December at his school.
While the delay is frustrating, it has allowed Shaun to concentrate on fundraising; he has smashed his £101 target for a local charity close to his family’s hearts, Suicide Bereavement Support, and more than 200 donors have helped him to raise over £4,000 to date.
Shaun’s efforts were brought to the attention of Felix Parker-Smith, of JustGiving, who nominated him for the Points of Light award.
The challenge has been postponed, but Shaun is keener than ever for it to go ahead when restrictions are lifted.
In a personal letter to Shaun, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “Well done on your fantastic fundraising for Cumbria Suicide Bereavement Support! With your dad’s favourite character, Dennis the Menace, you inspired people to make generous donations that will help other families like yours.”
Shaun said: “When my mum told me I had won the Points of Light award my first words were ‘jeepers creepers!’. I was blown away, astounded and felt so proud.
“This is a huge milestone in my life because the Prime Minister picked my story out of thousands upon thousands. Thank you!
“I want to thank everyone who has donated to SBS, this will help lots of people.
“I would like to dedicate this award to my dad Andy, Felix who nominated me and Mrs Winter, my teacher. I will always live by this motto, ‘be resilient, work hard, be kind, talk and listen.”
Chris Steele, headteacher of Fairfield Primary School, said: “Shaun is one of the most hard-working, conscientious students in our school and is a true role model to the rest of the pupils.
“We are looking forward to welcoming all of the children back to school as soon as we are given the green light and we will certainly be celebrating this achievement!”
The heart-breaking statistic of losing someone each week on average to suicide in Cumbria is greater than those lost to road traffic accidents.
Having operated under the wing of national charity Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide for nine years, SBS was founded over a year ago and builds on that experience to focus on offering a truly local service to people living in Cumbria and surrounding areas including North Lancashire and South Scotland.
SBS usually offers four self-help support groups across Cumbria, where those left behind by suicide can meet with other people in a similar position, although meetings are currently being held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The groups provide an opportunity to listen, to share, to gain understanding and to connect with others.
A helpline service and private forum is also available and is run by volunteers who have been personally affected by suicide.
To support Shaun’s fundraising challenge, you can donate via JustGiving at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/shauns10K?invite=true.
If you are struggling with the death of someone who has taken their own life and need someone to listen to your experience and offer you support, get in touch with SBS.