FOR SOPHIE: Marcus Hawthorn, from the Mind charity, in Darlington, accepts a cheque from Charles and Lindsey Hall who lost their daughter Sophie to suicide
FOR SOPHIE: Marcus Hawthorn, from the Mind charity, in Darlington, accepts a cheque from Charles and Lindsey Hall who lost their daughter Sophie to suicide

A GRIEVING family has raised more than £20,000 for mental health charities after losing their daughter to suicide.

Charles and Lindsey Hall, along with son Cameron, were left devastated when 19-year-old Sophie took her own life in June last year.

Following her death, they launched the Our Angel Sophie campaign in her memory to raise awareness about mental health.

The Halls, who run Rokeby Inn, on the A66, started by hosting fundraising events at the pub and also joined in the Leeds MoRun 10k race despite never having taken part in a running event before.

Sophie had intended to raise cash taking part in the race in memory of her uncle Martin who had also taken his own life.

Cash they raised was divided between Mind, in Darlington, and Young Minds earlier this month.

Some of the cash will be used to reinvigorate a reflection garden in Darlington.

Mrs Hall said: “Mind Darlington had a memorial garden that didn’t get looked after during Covid and they now want to resurrect it.

“They want it to be a place with a bit of Sophie in it, so there are going to be roses and tulips – she loved tulips.”

Her husband added: “And there is going to be a memorial bench where people can sit and reflect – all for our little girl, which will be lovely.”

The cash was gratefully received by the charity’s strategic development manager Marcus Hawthorn.

He said: “We are humbled by the generosity of Charles and Lindsey’s donation, and very grateful – it will make a huge difference for us in supporting mental health and wellbeing for young people and adults across Teesdale and the rest of our area.

“Sophie’s life will inspire regeneration of a corner of our garden as a place of calm, solace and reflection.”

The couple were given a tour of the Mind facility at Darlington, which has single residential accommodation for up to 24 people who are suffering, and also offers a variety of wellbeing workshops such as painting.

Promoting awareness of mental health issues is extremely important for the family who do not want others to go through the trauma they have experienced.

As part of that, a day-long awareness course was held at the inn earlier this month.

Mr Hall said: “It was hard but it was very informative, learning the signs and how to talk to people who are suffering.

“When we were sat here last week in a circle talking, ten years ago we wouldn’t have got people sat talking about mental health and the signs of suicide or depression or self-harm.

“There is a stigma to mental health and it is trying to get rid of that stigma.

“We don’t want anyone to suffer this. Just talk. If you ever feel down just talk to somebody.

“We have all got to be there for each other. It just keeps hitting me when you talk to so many people, and they know somebody who has mental health problems or tried to commit suicide. It is just rife – the biggest killer of 18 to 24-year-olds is suicide.”

Mrs Hall added: “Someone tries to take their own life every 40 seconds.”

As part of looking after her own mental health, Mrs Hall has started a running group, along with staff from Rokeby Inn, including Sophie’s best friend Ellie Rutterford who still works at the inn and has been an integral part of the Our Angel Sophie campaign.

Sophie’s brother Cameron continues to raise cash for Young Minds and will next take part in the London Landmark Half Marathon on April 7.

Mrs Hall said: “For a boy who didn’t run and didn’t do any exercise, it is amazing. He makes us so proud.”

The couple will be having a meeting in the coming weeks to decided what more they can do to promote awareness in memory of their daughter.

Mr Hall said: “We had 19 wonderful years with her, we should have had more but we had good times with her.”

His wife added: “I am selfish because I still want more [years with her].”

l If you are struggling with mental health issue, you can call the Samaritans on 116123 or go online to www.