During a 12-day event this summer, a special baton designed and crafted by goldsmiths and silversmiths to the Royal family will be carried across the UK by families and friends bereaved by suicide, journeying from Glasgow to London.
The Baton of Hope is the UK’s biggest suicide prevention initiative and is supported by thousands of volunteers.
On Tuesday 4 July, the Baton will arrive in Milton Keynes where it will be carried, taken on horseback, and even escorted by a Formula 1 car as it travels across the city. There will be talks, live music and the opportunity to meet with local groups and charities throughout the day.
The Baton procession will set off at around 8:30am from MK Rose in Campbell Park. From there, it will pass through locations including Furzton Lake, MK Stadium, the Red Bull Technology Campus and the Tree Cathedral. The full programme, including timings and detail for all events open to the public, can be found here.
At 5:30pm, an honour guard from the local Scouts will welcome the Baton to its final stop at the Peace Pagoda. Representatives from public health and local charities will also be on hand to talk to anyone about the support they provide for those bereaved by suicide.
“The Baton of Hope is enormously important to those who have experienced suicide in their family but also to the friends and wider communities who have lost loved ones to suicide. We want to share the message that nobody should be afraid to talk about how they feel. This event is about breaking down barriers and having open conversations about mental health. Please support the cause and do consider getting involved on the day by coming along to the wonderful programme of talks and events.” - Cllr Jane Carr, Cabinet member for Inequalities and Child Poverty
The Baton of Hope was co-founded by fathers Mike McCarthy and Steve Phillip who both lost a son to suicide. Mike’s son Ross battled depression for a decade before taking his own life in 2021. Ross left behind a young son, a fiancée, and a heartfelt request that his family campaign for better mental health support and Mike is committed to honouring this final wish through the charity.
“The significance of this event cannot be overestimated. For the first time, a physical symbol that can be passed from bearer to bearer – from sufferer to sufferer – is spreading a message that we needn’t struggle alone. I am deeply moved and humbled to see truly inspirational people from across the country carry this baton as a symbol of compassion, hope and responsibility. ‘Responsibility’ because everyone of us can play a part in tackling the challenges presented by suicide. For too long, the stigma associated with having the conversations that we so desperately need to have has taken those closest to us. We have a huge mountain to climb in breaking this stigma, raising awareness of the importance of mental wellbeing and re-calibrating our approach to the societal catastrophe created by suicide, but the Baton of Hope Tour marks the start of positive change.” - Mike McCarthy, Co-Founder - Baton of Hope
If you have any questions or represent an organisation that would like to be involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Samaritans are there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to listen. Call them any time on 116 123 if you need somebody to talk to.
Sponsors of this initiative include Alstom, Savills, Starbucks, TFL and Westfield Health.