Pete's Family

ANDY MORRIS is Pete's Dad and has the following words:

What can I say………
I know that my life has been so blessed and that I am so fortunate. For me my family is my treasure and is so precious to me. We are all individual but so intertwined that to be without one of us is so strange.

September 2016 was a catastrophic disaster like a massive volcanic explosion that shattered my life, feelings, emotions and spirit into millions of bits never to be as it was again. The whole foundation of my life was ripped from under me, leaving a state of numbness, disbelief, shock, grief and a life in unimaginable pain and heartache, that I felt I could not walk this path before me. The immense waves of darkness that engulf and cover like a heavy blanket being thrown over you, dragging you down into deep despair and anguish. This for me has been the experience of suicide first hand since Pete took his own life.

To walk one day at a time, try to move forward and continue, has been an effort that without my faith in a loving God and saviour would have been pretty near impossible, and without the love of friends and family, some of whom I call God with skin on! I will never believe what has happened to us an ordinary family, it will always walk with me like a little buddy on my shoulder. But trust and hope that life will go on !

Bex and I have trained in the Grief Recovery Method to try and help others, as well as ourselves to cope with loss. We hope to deliver pilot courses in the next few months.

Abbie and Emily have trained in ASIST to deliver courses on suicide intervention.

So a journey that none of us had imagined or would have wanted has started.


WENDY MORRIS is Pete's mum and has the following words;

Where do l begin? If l had been writing this pre September 2016 you would have had a run down of some of the things l have done in my life, my family and things that l am interested in, but my life completely changed in one day in September, the life l had, and the person l was, were subjected to what l can only describe as a catastrophic earthquake.

Sadly other people reading this may also know the devastation that suicide brings to those left. The loss absolutely engulfs every aspect of your life physically, mentally,  emotionally, and  spiritually. Managing  your emotions, anxieties and your thought life can be exhausting and a battle.

Slowly l am rebuilding  my life, l am not and never will be the same as before. At first you take a minute, then an hour at a time. The support of other people has been vital. Despite what the news sometimes portrays, people can be so kind, little do they know, they are part of the move to dismiss the stigma that surrounds suicide. When people aren't afraid to face me, even if they don't know what to say, they really don't know how much, that adds a brick to my self confidence.

l was thinking at this moment l would apologise that my writing may seem a little "heavy" but l won't as this is the reality of suicide in my life.

Wendy and Andy were foster carers whilst their children were small. Wendy then went on to work as a project co-ordinator for PATA prior to training as a Social Worker. She worked in this role for nearly 20 years in various professional settings. After Pete died she decided that she felt unable to return to this role. Wendy works incredibly hard behind the scenes for Sunflowers. Without her - we would not be able to run. From packing Christmas cards, to delivering, from supporting the fundraisers to giving her personal advice and experiences. Wendy also oversees the finances to ensure that the books are kept diligently which ensures the charity runs smoothly.
REBECCA MAPP is Pete's eldest sister and Co-founder of Sunflowers and for this reason has first hand experience of the impact of suicide on everyone involved. She has come to realise that there is no 'quick fix' to grief, and it's so important to learn acceptance of feelings on a daily basis.

Rebecca is a mum to three young boys. She has worked as a sexual health nurse, and health adviser for the last 10 years. She currently works as a health advisor lead within the NHS.  Prior to working in sexual health, Rebecca worked as a midwife and trauma nurse. She has attended various counselling courses in her professional career.  Both professional and life experience have given rebecca skills and knowledge to signpost others to gain the support required with loss by suicide. 

After the death of Pete, Rebecca received counselling through her job which she felt was beneficial in helping her. She has also privately funded and attended a sibling bereavement weekend through a national charity. Her children have attended Touchstones bereavement courses and have really benefitted from the work they have done together.

Rebecca feels that counselling can offer vital support when dealing with traumatic grief. But truly believes that support should always be offered from a qualified, specialised counsellor or resource. We are all individual and have very different coping mechanisms. Our aim to to support you on your journey and help signpost you to access the correct services for you.

Rebecca will be managing the support after loss for the charity. She has just completed her training Grief Recovery Method specialist.  This is not counselling or therapy, it is an education programme to learn skills to cope with loss. Rebecca has found this training extremely beneficial for her own grief and is incredbly enthusiastic that is can be used to help others learn to live with their loss. She is piloting the course locally and hopes to be able to offer it to those bereaved by suicide over the next 12 months.
ABBIE WARREN set up the Sunflowers charity and is Pete’s sister, so is fully aware of the traumatic impact suicide loss has.
 
Abbie is qualified in LL.B Law. After finishing her degree she went on to work in various professional settings until having her two children. Abbie also worked for a time as a Youth Development Worker at The Door Youth Project in Stroud, before retraining in NEBOSH Health and Safety. 
 
She says; "after the death of Pete our world fell apart! It has been a confusing, unbelievable and very dark time. I developed anxiety and panic attacks - something I had not experienced before. I could not sleep - but was exhausted. I felt like the earth was falling from beneath my feet with no way to reach one another - or ourselves. We have been incredibly blessed with the support we have recieved from friends. They are like the beacons lighting up our darkness. Sitting with us, not afraid if we cry and not scared of how low we may be feeling.

I have attended professional counselling privately which has been extremely beneficial in helping me learn to live with my loss. Admitting that I needed help took a lot. My pride took a hit - but I am so glad that I reached out and found a very qualified and experienced Psychotherapist to work through the trauma and images I was suffering from. I have also privately funded and attended a sibling bereavement weekend through a national charity which enabled me to meet with others experiencing this deep grief. Setting up the Storms walks has been very pivital in me learning to cope. I find getting outdoors with others and walking in nature very theraputic. It has really helped me. I feel more support is needed for those who have lost loved ones to suicide, both to help work through the grief, but also the trauma".

Abbie regularly attends the Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Partnership Forum, working with other organisations to make our community suicide safer. She is qualified as a Living Works ASIST trainer to deliver workshops that will enable others to identify suicidal indicators and give them the skills to respond. 

Trustees

​MARCUS GREEN is the Chair of Sunflowers. He has a young family and a keen interest in suicide prevention awareness. 

Marcus is part time Chief Executive of Action on Pre-eclampsia responsible for the day to day success of the charity.  He was formally CEO of a hospice and before that worked in politics advising Government Ministers including a Secretary of State for Health.

When Marcus isn’t working with APEC he is non-executive chairman of two companies, trustee of an anorexia charity, advisor to the boards of a number of other charities and runs his own management consultancy which specialises in Corporate Social Responsibility, leadership and growth.  He is also an expert in seeding new charities and has recently worked to form a new charity in the wake of the Greenfell Tower disaster and has advised on the setting up of GHAPEC, the pre-eclampsia charity in Ghana.  He chairs a global maternal medicine network supporting patient participation.

In his spare time, he loves photography and his work has been published globally.

SUE BULLINGHAM is a mother, and a grandparent. She qualified as a social worker in 1997. Since then, Sue has worked with vulnerable children and adults in a variety of settings, statutory and voluntary.

Sue says “During my time as a Social Worker I have had the privilege of supporting people in order to help make their lives better, happier, and healthier. My life experience has taught me of the need to show compassion and kindness and to help in any small way when able.

I have witnessed the devastating effect suicide has on families and friends, so when I was asked to become a Trustee for the charity I was happy to do so.

I look forward to working with others in the team to try and reduce the stigma of mental ill health and support those affected by suicide”.
NICK GARDINER-CLARK works for Stroud County Council. He is an extremely organised and conscientious individual who is dedicated to suicide prevention.​ He has been working to ensure that the charity are GDPR compliant.

Nick says “I am humbled to be asked to be involved with Sunflowers. If I can help Sunflowers in their mission, even a tiny bit, then I feel that out of such sadness we have a chance in preventing this sadness occurring again.  For those that find themselves having to walk that path, Sunflowers is there to walk alongside you to support you on that journey.

Suicide as for many, has been a part of my life with losing my biological father at 8 years old, when he was 29 and then with the loss of one of my best friends, Pete in September 2016.

Whilst in Greece, a tour guide was explaining how English now derives from the Greek Language. In Greek  the word ’psycho’ is a positive word meaning soul and ‘path’ meaning illness. Statistics show the increasing numbers of people with a poorly soul, and I feel passionately that we should be able to talk about how we are feeling and access support in those difficult times.

For those who have lost a loved one through suicide, please know that it is ok to not be ok, to feel anger, resentment or to feel lost, not just a sense of loss. We are all different, but many people feel the way you are feeling,  you are not alone in the way you feel, you are not alone in life.

Whether you are feeling low,  experiencing suicidal thoughts or you have lost someone, speak your feelings. # I AM LISTENING".
  
​JO KILLE is a mother to two young children. She has worked in the Police for the past 11 years. Jo has seen first hand the devastating affects of suicide and has experienced how families in the aftermath often do not know where to turn for support. 

Jo says "I am passionate about this charity and feel very strongly that families need supporting.

I hope that we can work to encourage the younger generation to talk more openly about mental health and suicide and hopefully prevent deaths.

I attended the first ASIST course run by Sunflowers to gain more skills to equip myself to deal with people who may be experiecing thoughts of suicide and be able to spot those who are more at risk.

The Morris family are doing amazing things with Sunflowers and I’m excited about the direction it’s heading in. I hope we as a charity can support families dealing with the loss of a loved one to suicide.

Every life is valuable.

Every family deserves support".
KATHERINE TURNER helped co-found the charity. She has been a primary school teacher since 2003 and has three children who are eight, six and four years old. 

Katherine says; I first became ‘suicide aware’ after my best friends lost their brother in 2016.  It was an incredibly difficult and painful time for all involved and left behind by Pete who was creative, quirky, unique and such a huge part of his friends and families lives.  Pete was the second friend Katherine had lost to suicide within four months.

A year on and I have been asked to become a trustee to the charity Pete’s sister Abbie has set up in his memory.  I am dedicated to the cause and will endeavour to spread the word gaining support wherever possible.  My previous experience as a teacher has taught me kindness, patience and has gained me good communication skills with children and parents alike.  I am incredibly passionate about the urgency of mental health support and the huge impact it has on suicide.

I am honoured to take up the position and look forward to working as a team to gain more understanding about mental health and suicide but more importantly to help in any way I can to bring the currently huge statistic on suicide down".

Team Members

EMILY HUDSON helped co-found the charity. She continues to be actively involved with the running of the charity and the direction that it moves in. Emily has suported all of the fundraisers and is in charge of our Chase the Sun event. She is also one of our ASIST Trainers and delivers the workshops alongside Abbie.  Emily has three young chldren of her own and has been a lifelong friend of the Morris family - she is like a sister to Rebecca, Abbie and Pete.  Emily has known three young men take their own life and has seen and experienced first-hand what a huge impact this has on the many people who knew them.

She says: "I have been qualified as an adult Nurse for 10 years and completed my degree in Community Public Health in 2014. I have  worked as a Health Visitor since then. I am aware how important having good mental health is and the role health professionals play in people’s willingness to engage in services to support them".

Emily is very passionate that everybody should have access to support when they are feeling suicidal; as well as ensuring there is support in place for family members traumatised by suicide. Emily is extremely hard working and has always been active in supporting and encouraging fundraising toward the projects. She is personable as a nurse and good at making people feel at ease quickly to enable them to open up about their feelings. Emily is an extremely valuable member of the team.


SARAH NASH is our Brand Designer. She runs SS Designs and has produced our logos, publication literature and is in charge of all the brand designs. She also worked on Pete’s artwork to create the wonderful Christmas cards. We have a lot of love and thanks for this amazing lady.

Sarah is a mum to two young girls, one of which is Pete’s Goddaughter. Previous to having children Sarah qualified as a Graphic designer and worked for companies such as Kodak and MINI. Sarah has been Pete’s best friend since attending secondary school together. They shared an affinity for all things silly and creative.

Sarah says “Graphic design is a real passion of mine and I make as much time for it as I can around my little ones, I look forward to supporting the Sunflowers team with their design needs in anyway possible.

I have experienced grief by suicide twice now, first my Uncle when I was 14 and now after losing Pete. I have seen the importance of people being able to talk openly about suicide and mental health issues having experienced depression myself for many years. Pete was always there for me through thick and thin; but we rarely had open discussions about it.

I would like to hear suicide being discussed more openly and the affects of it on the people left behind being openly broadcast. It hurts to talk of such pain but you never know who it might help”.
 MATT WOOLLEY is a Team Member of Sunflowers Suicide Support. He is proactive with fundraising and volunteers at most events, both behind the scenes and on the day.

Matt has a BA Hons degree in Marketing, Management and Branding. He plans to utilise this by helping manage the social media accounts and website.


Matt has a career in law enforcement and lives locally in Gloucestershire. He boasts a complex skill set when it comes to suicide bereavement, both professionally and personally, having been bereaved by suicide himself.


Matt believes that education is pivotal in breaking the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide. He has completed the ASIST training program, and is a big advocate of suicide first aid. Matt aspires to voluntarily deliver ASIST training in the future.


 
DI FOXLEY - is one of our Volunteers at Sunflowers. She has helps out at and attends our events. Di also helps to manage and run our monthly support group. Di has such a personable and kind manner which quickly helps new families feel very welcome. We feel extremely privileged that she is part of our team as she, along with her family; have been a great source of support to us and especially to the Morris family.

Di says “I am a bereaved mum having lost my 21 year old son Simon very suddenly at home after he was bullied on Facebook by someone that he had never met. Although he lacked confidence he had never suffered from any mental health problems.

His two surviving brothers have both struggled enormously with his loss and their own mental health since his passing.

I currently work as an Administrator for a local counselling charity and volunteer for cats protection - fostering cats in a pen in the garden

My hobbies include renovating our house, creating a garden from a hillside and learning to play trombone and drums in Simons memory”.
  

GRAHAM FOXLEY - Helps run our monthly support group