THEY came to remember the “angel lost to suicide” and nearly 250 people joined forces to celebrate the life of teenager Ben Fitchett.
In doing so the HOPEWalkers 2018 helped raise funds and awareness for Papyrus, the prevention of young suicide charity.
Ben, a former Crompton House pupil, was just 14 when he died in August 2013.
“As long as people come together you will be remembered forever in our hearts and our souls and never be far from our thoughts,” said mum Sarah.
“The event was absolutely amazing, an extremely humbling experience as five years later the community spirit of High Crompton and beyond met to walk in memory of Ben and to #smashthestigma associated with suicide.
“There were 42 teams and 243 walkers who took part. The entry was set at £5 per person to allow each walker to fund a phone call to HOPELINEUK (0800 0684141), raising awareness and talking about PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide, educating our young ones and smashing that stigma.
“We have taken steps to ensure this happens and given so many that permission to talk and say ‘I am not ok’ and let young people know how they are feeling.”
One of Ben’s loves was scouting and the 2018 walk included a number of scouts, cubs and brownies.
There were also a variety of distances available to participants with Shaw and Crompton Town Crier, Marcus Emms, setting off groups from the North Star in High Crompton and the Wine Press at Hollingworth Lake.
Sarah added: “The organising team of myself, Peter Joy, Sally Green, Rob Partington and Andy Edwards would like to extend our thanks to everyone involved and that made this event as successful as it was.
“To the uniformed organisation leaders, district commissioners and wider, you have an amazing set of young people who have stepped out to walk and raise money for PAPYRUS and I am so proud of all of you.
“To the young members of the Churches of St Mary’s, High Compton and St James, Thornham, you are also amazing.
“Your parents should be proud of you all, and we are proud of them for stepping out to walk too.
“Thank you to everyone from the bottom of our hearts, to those who walked, talked, shepherded, swept, checked in and checked out, radioed, blew up balloons, baked cakes, manned a stall, came and spent money, wished us well and sent love, positivity and their well wishes for a successful day.
“As we ponder the success of our five-year anniversary walk I want to just say ‘thank you’ again. You have all been amazing and supportive.
“To Ben’s friends/buddies/besties, I am so glad you could join us. Love and Light to you all. We have an amazing community here in High Crompton.”