Dads' gruelling walk to raise suicide awareness after losing daughters

Tim Owen pictured with his daughter Emily at her fourth birthday meal.

Tim Owen pictured with his daughter Emily at her fourth birthday meal. - Credit: Tim Owen

Three dads from across the country will be walking to raise awareness of suicide following the tragic loss of their daughters.

Tim Owen, from Shouldham, will be walking for suicide prevention charity Papyrus, alongside Mike Palmer, from Manchester, and Andy Airey, from Cumbria, for their daughters Emily, Beth and Sophie, who all took their own lives.

Tim Owen, Mike Palmer and Andy Airey will be walking 300 miles for their daughters Emily, Beth and Sophie.

Tim Owen, Mike Palmer and Andy Airey will be walking 300 miles for their daughters Emily, Beth and Sophie, who took their own lives. - Credit: PAPYRUS

The three families are united in their efforts to raise awareness of suicide in young people, in order to help others avoid the "life-shattering trauma of losing a child to suicide."

Emily, 19, took her life in March 2020 after struggling to cope with life under lockdown, which culminated in years of struggles and a late diagnosis of autism, her dad said.

Emily Owen, who an inquest concluded took her own life. Picture: Annabel Owen

Emily Owen was taken to critical care at the QEH in King's Lynn but died five days later. - Credit: Annabel Owen

The teenager was taken into critical care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn but died five days later.

Mr Owen said the events have changed his and his family's "lives forever", from Emily’s funeral attended by six people, to the roads in Shouldham lined with hundreds of people from the village and beyond.

Emily Owen pictured in Cornwall at the age of 13.

Emily Owen pictured in Cornwall at the age of 13. - Credit: Tim Owen

He added: "Emily just had no idea how many lives she touched and continues to impact.

"She was the life and soul of an event and our house.

Tim Owen, from Shouldham, pictured with his daughter Emily.

Tim Owen, from Shouldham, pictured with his daughter Emily. - Credit: Tim Owen

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"As her dad I often watched her behind the bar of the village pub talking to the customers and bringing laughter and joy to those who she spoke to.

"She was an incredibly talented artist who just couldn’t see how brilliant she was."

Emily Owen pictured in Cornwall at the age of 13.

Emily Owen at the age of 10. - Credit: Tim Owen

He believes had Emily spoken to someone, her decision and his 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," he said.

Self-portrait painting Emily Owen created of herself for her final GCSE piece.

Self-portrait painting Emily Owen created of herself for her final GCSE piece. - Credit: Tim Owen

3 Dads Walking, which begins on October 9, will see the parents walking an average of 20 miles a day between their homes, with the plan to end in Shouldham on October 23.

Mr Palmer hopes they will put a spotlight on young mental health by telling Beth, Emily and Sophie’s stories.

To donate to their cause visit justgiving.com/team/3DadsWalking1. For more on 3Dads Walking visit www.3dadswalking.uk

For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice contact PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

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