Pride of Britain: Rob Mason shortlisted as 2023 Channel Islands Fundraiser of the Year

Rob Mason from Jersey has been nominated for an ITV Channel Pride of Britain award.

Ever since his daughter Kezia took her own life in March 2022, he's been raising awareness about youth mental health and suicide prevention.

He's also been fundraising tirelessly during that time, and earlier this year, he set up a fund in his daughter's name.

As of July, Kezia's Fund had donated nearly £110,000 to 11 local charities that focus on young people and mental health.

There are plans for it to raise money on a yearly basis, with tens of thousands of pounds expected to be donated in 2024.

Rob has set up a fund in his daughter's name in the hope that it can help Jersey's young people for many years.

Despite his devastation after his daughter's death, Rob felt compelled to share his story in the hope that it could help others and prevent it happening to another family.

He also thinks more should be done in the classroom to help young people to deal with mental health issues.

He says: "Personally, I'd like to see suicide prevention as a compulsory part of the curriculum, so that we start to build a generation that has these tools.

"It's surely every parent's worst nightmare, what we've gone through, so if we can bridge that for somebody else or stop that happening for somebody else then that's a massive motivator".

Kezia's friends say Run for Kezia gave them the confidence to speak more about mental health.

One way Rob raised money was through an event organised with the help of his daughter's friends.

Run for Kezia first took place last September and raised thousands for charities that help young people.

Most importantly, it had the desired effect of getting more teenagers to speak up about their mental health.

Kezia's friend Eloise Morel, says: "I think I've definitely learned, from the event, that it's better to talk about it than hold it in because you want to let people know because they don't know if you don't tell them and there's no way you can get help if no one knows.

Another friend, Saskia Ruddy, agreed, saying: "I think the event made me realise how much of a community Jersey is and it's a safe space and there's so many people around that care about you and will help you when you're feeling down.

The Masons are thankful for all the support they've received from islanders.

£10,000 of the money donated by Kezia's Fund will go towards Thrive Jersey, the island's only charity that focuses exclusively on suicide prevention.

It'll be allocated to a new project which will offer specialist suicide prevention training to the next generation of islanders.

Its chairperson, Andy Le Seelleur says people like Rob speaking about their experience is critical to helping others, particularly young people.

This view has been echoed by other parents on the island who have witnessed first-hand his dedication to the cause.

Alex Ruddy says: "He does so much research in terms of trying to speak to politicians, and speak to government about how we can effectively take something so awful and make it better for the island's children.

"He really is taking a personal tragedy, but turning it around for the island".

Esther Mason shares her husband's goal of helping young people with their mental health.

The Mason family are thankful for all the support they've received from fellow islanders.

Rob's wife, Esther, says she likes that people feel comfortable talking to them about their daughter.

She also believes it's important that people hear their message as they were a "very normal, straight-forward family and it happened".

Rob says: "It does give a great feeling of support because sometimes you wonder whether people want to continue hearing about our story and whether we should be leveraging that.

"Getting that platform to continue getting the message across is great validation that people still want it and people still need to hear it".

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