Tree planting ceremony in memory of those lost to suicide

Co-Leader of Aberdeenshire Council, Councillor Martin Kitts-Hayes and the Chair of the local branch of the Samaritans Peter Benton will plant a tree to remember those lost to suicide in the north east of Scotland. 

The tree planting and dedication ceremony will take place in Kellands Park, Inverurie at 12:00pm on Saturday 12th December.

Officials and players from Garioch and Shetland Rugby Clubs are expected to attend the event ahead of their match.

Last year 60 people from the north east of Scotland died by suicide - leaving a lasting impact on families, friends and communities.

Cllr Kitts-Hayes said: “I am honoured to be asked to be a part of this ceremony. It is important, that we offer support to those who have been close to someone who has taken their own life and to raise awareness of suicide to encourage people to seek help.”

Aberdeen Lord Provost George Adam hosted an earlier ‘Act of Remembrance’ at Marischal College, Aberdeen and  added: “I would encourage all those across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire who have been affected by suicide to attend and those who need help to seek it from the many organisations that provide support.

“Both local authorities are committed to supporting people in distress.  Through training and improved knowledge and awareness of suicide prevention practice and improved co-ordination between services we hope we can help reduce suicidal behaviour.”  

Laird Parker Garioch Rugby club president said: "The Club thought it important to support this event as a way of remembering those lost to suicide."

The ceremony has been organised by Neil Murray, Choose Life Coordinator for Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire and will be led by the Chaplain of Aberdeen’s Royal Cornhill Hospital Donald Meston. Choose Life is the national strategy and action plan to prevent suicide in Scotland.

Along side the tree will be a granite stone mounted on a plinth with “Choose Life – to remember those lost to suicide” written on it. This has been donated by A&J Robertson Granite Merchants in Aberdeen and prepared by northeast firm Lovie, Quarry and Concrete Products. The tree has been donated by Inverurie Garden Centre.

The Choose Life framework ensures action is taken to build skills through training, improve knowledge and awareness of good suicide prevention practice, and to encourage improved co-ordination between services.

Neil Murray said: “Suicide devastates families and communities leaving people with so many questions unanswered. The feeling of loss and helplessness leaves a lasting impact.

“This event is an opportunity for those affected by the loss of someone to suicide to gain comfort and support from others.”

Choose Life in the north east also funds the work of organisations such as the Samaritans as well as groups that work with vulnerable young people.

Peter Benton, Chair of the Samaritans said “People can contact us at any time if they need support or if they just need to talk. Our number is 116 123 or you can email us at jo@samaritans.org: you will always get an answer”

For information on what to do if you are worried someone is feeling suicidal, visit www.chooselife.net/ask

For more information about Choose Life contact Aberdeen City and Shire Choose Life Coordinator Neil Murray at neil.murray@samh.org.uk