Cleveleys mum blasts vandals after suicide prevention board in son's memory is attacked

A furious mum whose son took his own life five years ago has hit out at mindless vandals who smashed up a special notice board set up to help others struggling with mental health.

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 5:42 pm

Joanne Hargreaves-Doherty was devastated when her son James died in The Towers Wood in Cleveleys in August 2016, but she later set up a suicide prevention charity, Doherty’s Destiny, in his memory.

As part of her work with Doherty's Destiny, she arranged for the carved wooden and Perspex board to be put up, close to where James died, which included posters offering a range of help to those feeling desperate and contemplating suicide.

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Coun Andrea Kay (left) and Joanne Hargreaves-Doherty in front of the damaged notice board in The Towers Wood, Cleveleys

But she was shocked when a Wyre Ranger contacted her last week to tell her it had been smashed up, with the Perspex panel shattered and the vital posters lost.

James, who had attended Hodgson Academy, Poulton was just 16 when he died in the woodland green space, off Holmefield Avenue.

He had been working as a lifeguard while awaiting his GCSE results but he been the victim of online bullying.

His mum had the notice board installed in the wood four years ago, on the first anniversary of James' death.

James Doherty was only 16 when he died

Joanne, 50, of Leicester Avenue, said: "I cannot understand why anyone would do something like this.

"This is not just a tribute to my son, it is there to help any others who are at their lowest ebb.

"We are losing too many young people to suicide.

"These vandals just have no idea.

"Everything I have tried to do since losing James is about trying to stop someone else dying in the same way, and having another family grieve."

Joanne, who works as a hairdresser, is appealing to any students or a joiner who may be able to repair the memorial, not necessarily replacing the Perspex.

She is also offering a reward to anyone who is able to give police information leading to the culprits being caught.

Cleveleys borough and county councillor Andrea Kay is a supporter of Doherty's Destiny and said: " I would like to see some restorative justice, for the person who did this to explain to us why they did it.

"Just imagine if some young person had gone there last night and felt at their end of their tether.

"If those posters can help just one person, the notice board has done it's job, but someone has just gone and kicked it in."

She said there had been a number of similar tragedies in the Towers and anything that helped prevent it was worthwhile.

The Doherty’s Destiny bereavement group is set to begin meeting again in January after sessions were temporarily halted by the Covid pandemic.

The sessions will be held at Cleveleys Library on the last Tuesday of every month.

If anyone is able to help repair the notice board - or has any information about the vandalism, they can contact Coun Kay by email on [email protected]

For more information on Doherty's Destiny visit the group's Facebook site at