Mum's fight to help young people in Lancaster district affected by suicide continues as family marks anniversary

The mum of a young man who took his own life eight years ago is continuing her fight to raise awareness of the support that is available to help young people in a similar situation.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Thursday, 19th May 2022, 9:38 am

Michael Towers was just 23 when he died by suicide on May 19 2014.

Just hours earlier, the trainee chartered accountant had returned home to Warton, near Lancaster, from a trip of a lifetime to the United States with three friends.

Michael's sudden death devastated his parents Jo and Chris and older brother David.

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Michael Towers.

And at the time they were unaware of any support for families facing such circumstances.

However, shortly after Michael passed away, Jo discovered Papyrus, a charity set up to support both young people who may be considering suicide, and also the families of young suicide victims.

Since then Jo has been helping to raise awareness of Papyrus, taking part in their Hope Walk to raise funds for the charity.

Last year, to mark what would have been Michael's 30th birthday in February 2021, and also the anniversary of his passing on May 19, Jo undertook a tandem skydive to raise more funds for Papyrus, as well as to further highlight the charity's vital work.

Jo Towers is raising money for Papyrus after her son Michael's suicide eight years ago. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

And this year Jo has set herself a new challenge - to abseil down Liverpool Cathedral.

She’ll be taking part in the challenge on July 16, and has already passed the half-way point of her £200 fundraising target.

"If we had known about Papyrus, we could have contacted them and been able to get some help for our son,” she said.

"We do not want other young people to suffer in silence, but to get the help they need from HOPELINEUK 0800 068 41 41.

Michael pictured at his brother David's graduation with their parents Jo and Chris - this was the last photo taken of the family together.

Suicide is the biggest killer of young people under the age of 35 in the UK.

In 2018 more than 1,800 young people took their own lives. Papyrus provides confidential support and advice to young people struggling with thoughts of suicide, and anyone worried about a young person through their helpline, HOPELINEUK.

Every £5 raised can help pay for a lifesaving contact to HOPELINEUK.

You can donate to the cause on Jo's fundraising page here.