The journey of grief from losing someone you love to suicide is a long, slow and painful one
For me, a turning point was when I realised that the secret that I had held so buried and precious for so long, had slowly reached the place where I now both wanted and needed to acknowledge and talk about it.
This eventually led to me to wanting to do something positive to raise awareness about suicide – one of the most stigmatised of issues we face as a society. In turn, this led me to the front door of Grassroots and subsequently becoming involved as a fundraiser and ChangeMaker – and now I am learning more about how Real Talk saves lives.
The impetus for wanting to help organise a gig as my first fundraising project came from losing my amazing and beautiful nephew Roshan to suicide 7 years ago. Roshan was just 22 when he died. We both shared a passion for music and he ran radio stations at both Sheffield and Sussex universities.
Set the Tigers Free
Roshan lived with us when he first moved to Brighton and when he moved out gave us a record, Day of The Jackal by Villagers. I didn’t own a turntable at the time and only heard the album after he had died. The last track on the album, Set the Tigers Free, is such a beautiful and poignant song. Its powerful lyrics stayed with me and seemed to encapsulate so perfectly and powerfully the need to leave yet somehow move on.
I was so honoured when Stephen from SJ Brett, (one of the bands who so willingly gave their time for free to play at the gig) said they would perform a cover of this song. I was blown away by their most beautiful cover which fitted perfectly with Stephens heartfelt harmonies at the start of the song before the rise to an incredible guitar and vocals crescendo at the end. I have rarely heard something sang with more feeling – and there could not have been a more fitting or wonderful tribute to Roshan and the music he loved.
It was a new experience for me as volunteer fundraiser to contact unknown people and organisations and ask them for free things! I have been swept away by the generosity of spirit from those who, when contacted, immediately offered support for the cause and the gig through practical help, playing for free or offering raffle prizes. I thank you all! I also thank all my friends and those who might not normally come to a late midweek at a gig but who turned up, bought raffle tickets, picked up leaflets, took them back to their workplaces and generally spread the word. The feedback from the night was incredible and the energy in the room of so many people coming together to support such an important cause was just humbling.
Magician, Caspar Thomas performed his sleight of hand to kickstart the night with his amazing trickery for the magic part of “Music and Magic for Suicide Prevention”. I think we can also claim the most original title and line up for a fundraising night too – and the magic helped make the money roll in to the buckets and any anxieties we might have had about participation or attendance just literally vanish! (Thanks Caspar!)
There are many ways to get a message across
This first gig, will be the start of a series of live music events, curated by my irrepressible and positive Grassroots fundraising colleague, the one and only Jack Thunder , Community Changemaker extraordinaire– and lets face it, who’s not going to make serious impact with a name like Jack’s?! This gig has shown that there are many ways to get a message across. It is possible to combine raising funds and awareness for the most serious of issues but in a way that is involving, engaging and enables the message and work of Grassroots to reach a new and diverse audience.
“If you came or helped us in any way – then thank you. If you didn’t manage to catch the night, I look forward to seeing you at the next one! Cheers to you all.” – Kate Simblet