Seafront memorial bench for girl, 14, who took her own life

Jessica Collins, 14, took her own life in 2016.

Jessica Collins, 14, took her own life in 2016. Her mother is planning to unveil a memorial plaque on a bench on Gorleston seafront. - Credit: Submitted

A plaque dedicated to a girl who took her own life will be unveiled on a bench on the coast, with the mother hoping the memorial will prompt discussions on child suicide.

Lee-Anne Collins, 36, lives in Hopton with her husband and two children, but lost her daughter Jessica, 14, in 2016.

She said that three people have generously donated £230 toward the plaque that will bear her daughter's name and be fixed to a bench overlooking the pond on Gorleston's seafront.

Balloon release held in memory of Jessica Collins on Gorleston beach

Balloon release held in memory of Jessica Collins on Gorleston beach - Credit: Supplied

The spot was chosen because three days after Jessica's death, a crowd gathered there to release pink and red balloons with loving messages attached.

The Jessica Collins Child Suicide Awareness Page logo. Photo: Lee-Anne Collins

The Jessica Collins Child Suicide Awareness Page logo. Photo: Lee-Anne Collins - Credit: Archant

The memorial bench is also part of Ms Collins' campaign, 'The Jessica Collins Child Suicide Awareness Page'.

She said: "Our idea is to have a hashtag on the plaque, so people can go there and take pictures and upload them to our campaign's Facebook page.

"It will mean a lot," she added. "It will mean the people who can't see Jessica anymore will have a special place to go to remember her or other people they have lost."

Jessica was found unresponsive on her bed in July 2016. Norfolk coroner Yvonne Blake said the trigger involved a text message which Jessica feared had ended a friendship.

Ms Collins is also organising a raffle to take place next month, with funds donated to Papyrus, a UK charity for the prevention of young suicide.

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Among the 60-odd prizes will be chocolates, driving lessons, cupcakes, free meals, beauty vouchers, make-up, a character visit for children, personal training lessons via Zoom, and a personalised wedding seating-plan.

Ms Collins will be selling raffle tickets online and the draw will take place on April 24 on her Facebook and Instagram pages.

"I want to raise as much as I can. I'm putting my all into this," she said.

If you need help and support, call Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline 0808 196 3494 or the Samaritans on 116 123. Both services are available 24 hours 7 days a week. You can also download the Stay Alive app on Apple & Android. 


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