3 Dads Walking heading to Buxton today on charity trek in memory of daughters

Three dads who are walking 300 miles in memory of their daughters who took their own lives will be arriving in Buxton today.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 11:00 am
Updated Friday, 15th October 2021, 11:05 am

Mike Palmer, Tim Owen and Andy Airey all live in different areas and decided to walk a route in between all of their houses to raise money for the charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide.

They set off from Andy’s house in Cumbria on Saturday, October 9, before heading to Mike’s home in Greater Manchester and are aiming to finish at Tim’s home in Kings Lynn on October 23.

Walking an average of 20 miles a day, their latest leg today sees them set off from Poynton before finishing in Buxton this afternoon.

(L-R) Tim Owen , Mike Palmer , and Andy Airey. who are walking 300 miles in memory of their daughters who took their own lives.

They will then leave Buxton tomorrow (Saturday) and head to Matlock.

Mike Palmer, a firefighter from South Manchester, lost his daughter Beth in March 2020. He believes her decision was partly driven by Covid and lockdown.

He said: “She hated the fact that she could not finish college with her friends and saw all her plans be cancelled one by one."

He added: “3 Dads Walking is not a club I want to belong to, but along with Andy and Tim it gives us, as fathers, an opportunity to fight back and maybe make a difference.

Sophie Airey.

“We are all too aware that there are more young people out there falling into despair and see no way out other than to end their own precious lives.

“We hope that by linking our three homes and telling our three daughters’ very different stories we will put a spotlight on young mental health and ultimately the brutal effects of suicide.”

Tim Owen’s daughter Emily was just 19 when she died in March 2020, after trying to take her own life five days earlier.

Emily, who had been diagnosed with autism late in life, was equally struggling to cope with “life under lockdown”, he believes.

Emily Owen.

Mr Owen said: “I strongly believe that in a moment of darkness my daughter made a wrong decision.

“Two minutes earlier or later it would have been different.

“Had she just taken time to think or to speak to someone, her decision and my family’s lives would be on another path.

“Instead she decided she could no longer go on, leaving behind a devastating ripple effect on her family and friends.

Beth Palmer.

“She just had no idea how many lives she touched and continues to impact.”

Andy’s daughter Sophie took her own life on December 19 2018, shortly after separating from her husband Sam.

The 29-year-old was due to return home a day later for the festive season and had taken a lease on a “lovely apartment”, having been offered a new position at work, which she seemed “excited about”, according to her father.

Mr Airey said: “Suicide is the biggest killer of young people under the age of 35 in the UK.

“We only learned this terrifying fact because each of us has lost a daughter to suicide within the last three years.

“By raising awareness, we hope to prevent other families from suffering such indescribable pain and bring something positive out of the utter devastation of losing a child to suicide.”

The 3 Dads initially set out to raise £30,000 but have so far raised more than £300,000. This week, James Bond star Daniel Craig donated £10,000 to their cause, and yesterday (Thursday) they met former Manchester United star Lou Macari, who donated £10,001 from his Lou Macari Foundation.

You can track their progress at https://live.opentracking.co.uk/3dads21/ and to read more of their story, or donate see – https://www.3dadswalking.uk/.

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