'Every step will be worth it if we can help someone else': Family's tribute after 4 lost to suicide

The brother of a man who took his own life - having lost his father, grandfather and uncle to suicide - is channelling his grief into action in the hope of saving other families from the same pain.

Pat Kenny, from St Neots in Cambridgeshire, was just 25 when he died last February, becoming the fourth member of the family to die by suicide.

His brother, George Downey, and sister-in-law, Cindy, will be walking the 350-mile journey from Glasgow to St Neots to raise money for a mental health charity.

Cindy told ITV News Anglia Pat's death had been "absolutely devastating".

"It's not the first time this has happened for the family, unfortunately. Pat lost his father, his grandfather and his uncle to suicide. So it was just terrible memories brought back [and] more trauma added to them."

Pat Kenny as a baby with his father

Starting on 22 July next year, the pair will walk 25 miles each day for two weeks.

Along the way, they will stop at the places where each of the four relatives died.

Their fundraiser, 'Pacing4Pat350', is aimed at preventing other families from going through what they have.

Pat Kenny's brother and sister-in-law George and Cindy Downey will set off on their walk in the summer of 2022 Credit: ITV News

George said: "We're going to be starting at Pat's old house in Glasgow, which is next door to the house where my granddad took his own life in 1980.

"We then head to the hospital where Pat was born but on the way, we'll pass my dad's house where he took his own life in 2010.

"And then, on the way out of Glasgow, we will pass the house my uncle took his life in 2002, and then we'll be heading to finish on the bridge in St Neots."

George and Cindy will be finishing off their walk at the bridge in St Neots where Pat died.

Cindy said the family's mission was to raise awareness.

"If we can save one person in crisis, if we can help someone along the way or even support a family that's been affected by suicide - or just help someone with their mental health - then every step will be worth it," she said.

The couple has chosen to raise money for Hertfordshire mental health charity Hector's House, which offers support to people in crisis.

Lottie Stringer, founder of Hector's House, said the charity was grateful for the family's efforts.

She said: "We are so thankful. We are a tiny charity, and every penny that people fundraise we're so intentional about (using). 

"For example - supporting someone at crisis points and making sure that they're getting the correct help."

The family said they would never be able to get over what has happened but they would continue to move forward, one step at a time.

Who to contact if you or someone you know needs help:

  • Samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year, by calling 116 123. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org

  • Papyrus offers support for children and young people under the age of 35 over the phone on 0800 068 41 41 between 9am and midnight every day of the year. If you would rather text you can do so on 07786 209697 or send an email to pat@papyrus-uk.org

  • Mind also offers mental health support between 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. You can call them on 0300 123 3393 or text them on 86463. There is also lots of information available on their website.

  • Hector's House is a suicide and crisis prevention and help resource, with links to specialist helplines.