Subject: Re: [The Mark Townsend Charitable Trust ] Contact Us
I’m going to do my best to give you our story in detail from the beginning.
Mark was 45, He had two children, who were aged 9 & 7 when he died on November 26th 2014. He was always a really fun and loving guy, he was sporty and had so many friends and of course his family were always around him. At that time we saw no sign of depression or suicidal thoughts but now of course looking back at his moods, behaviours etc it was really obvious. His first suicide attempt came from potential overdose on the Saturday before his death which took place on a Wednesday
November 26th. He was taken to hospital and later brought home after tests showed that everything would be ok. On that Monday he went to the Doctors and was perscribed some anti-depressents which he did take for the two days before he died but obviously they didn’t have enough time to work and get into his system before he died. Someone was with Mark up until Wednesday morning when he was left and this is when his death took place.
It was a huge shock to say the least and not even a possibility that had entered our minds.
We tried our best to carry on, hour by hour, which turned into day by day, week by week and so on.
In August of 2015, committee member and one of Mark’s closest friends, Brian organised a ‘Skittlethon’ where they played skittles for 12 hours and he raised £900. He kindly asked us where we would like the money to be donated too, of course that took a lot of thought until we decided that we should set up our own charity, so we could help people that need it most, give ourselves something to channel our energies into and most importantly it would enable Mark’s name and memory to live on.
During this time our first big ‘family event’ of Arron and Laura’s wedding took place on 3rd October 2015, Mark’s girls were bridesmaids and it was a really beautiful, sort of bittersweet day when you know such a big part of your life is missing all the best things.
On November 12th 2015 The Mark Townsend Charitable Trust went live with our Website, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook page.
We set up a 100 club to raise funds, people pay £12 a year to have a number put into our monthly draw, which takes place at the meetings which happen once a month. The first prize is £20 and the second prize is £10.
We had and continue to have so much support from the community, from people that knew Mark, to complete strangers that none of us have ever met before.
In March 2016 someone very kindly designed us a logo for free(Mark’s nickname was Kermit after he turned up to cricket aged 15 wearing a bright green shirt😂 and it stuck for the rest of his life haha) In our signature colours of Kermit green.
On May 21st 2016 we had our first big fundraising event TMTCT Hoedown, A Hoedown is an American Barn Dance. We had a live band and caller who instructed everyone on how to do each dance, a big pan BBQ, Real Ale, Raffle and Auction. There was hay bales / decorations etc to set the scene. There was no dress code but everyone turned up in full cowboy gear 😂 We managed to raise £1400
We’ve recently started selling our shirts with our logo on which people have responded really well too and that’s raised a fair bit of money.
We’ve donated to a number of different causes, Counselling Sessions, Donations to cover hospital visits/parking, 3 uniforms for new starters at our local secondary school, SWR, 1 uniform for a new starter at the local primary school in Avening, 2 Prom Tickets, 1 Donation to a large Mental Health Mural at SWR, 2 School Trips, 3 Get Well Soon/ Pick Me Up gifts, 1 Pair of SmartCrutches to help a young person with their mobility, 2 Roses to local families who have had loved ones recently pass away and 2 Rugby Shirts with names and numbers on the back for some boys at SWR.
When people need funding they can email us, facebook us, phone us or write to us. We spread the word of what we do by sending letters to the local schools/ companies etc.
We have always seen it as very important to be serious enough to put the real facts of Male Mental Health/ Mental Health in general across whilst at the same time laughing and keeping things light and lots of fun because Mark would have liked that.
Whenever we have a fundraiser / event or the other day for suicide awareness day we shared our status on Facebook in support of the online campaign #ITSOKAYTOTALK. We believe that if people talked more openly about Mental Health to each other, their families and friends that the suicide/depression rate would drop highly.
I’m currently doing a course (I’m nearly finished) on Mental Health so we can set up a Hotline should anyone have any worries, suicidal thoughts or depression that they have someone to talk to and I’ll be trained to help them.
We’re also looking to volunteer with national charity, SOBS (Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide) but we can’t unfortunately do that until we have been bereaved for 3 years so that’s something we’re going to put on hold until next year.
We’re now looking to Christmas Bingo (as I said it’ll be better than it sounds haha) and A calendar, Tandem bike racing and a Black Tie Ball somewhere in the middle of next year.
Our committee is made up of –
Bomber (Mark’s Brother)
Kate (Mark’s Sister In Law)
Pete (Mark’s Brother)
Jayme (Mark’s Niece)
Arron (Mark’s Nephew)
Laura (Arron’s Wife)
And Mark’s friends –
I think that about covers us and our story so far. If you have any questions or need more detail about something I’ll be happy to answer anything 🙂
I forced everyone to set a date for the calendar shoot and we’ve come up with October 21st 🙂 I don’t yet have a date for our monthly meeting but it should be fairly soon (With all these men to coordinate it takes me a while😂) You’re welcome to bring anyone you want to anything you attend with us 🙂
Thank you, see you soon!