Hundreds turn out in Braunton for launch of Ask for Jake
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds of people turned out in Braunton to join a ‘hopewalk’ and attend the launch of the new Ask for Jake charity.
The group was set up following the sudden death of 18-year-old Jake McPhail in the village and aims to raise awareness of mental health as well as train volunteers in the SafeTalk system so they can support people in crisis.
So far, 56 people have been trained in SafeTalk and the idea is that anyone in a bad place can go into a local business or venue and ask if they can 'speak to Jake'.
People of all ages joined the walk, which took in the various schools in the village before heading to the Parish Hall for the launch, which featured a variety of information and support services, as well as ways for people to get involved.
Jake's parents Linzi and Bernard McPhail attended the walk. They said there had been amazing reaction and support from the community following his death.
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Mrs McPhail said: "One of the first things I said in the first couple of weeks is we need to find a positive to come from this tragedy and to learn from it.
"It's amazing to see the amount of people that are now talking about it, how it has affected them and how they have not spoken about it before."
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Mr McPhail added: "We felt he was taken for a reason and we want to make sure some good comes from it.
"Because we live in a small community, we wanted to try and bring that community spirit back as well."
Ask for Jake was set up by several people in the village. One of them, Marie Ash, said young people in particular were increasingly disconnected from others these days and they wanted to do something in Braunton that might help.
She said: "We came together to see what we could do and because of Jake's passing. There was the Braunton Stands Together event and a JustGiving page was set up.
"So we thought about how we could use that money and decided on getting people trained for SafeTalk.
"It's fantastic the way that people have come together and there is a genuine want to make a difference and to support each other in any way we can."
To find out more, join the events tomorrow or visit the Ask for Jake Facebook page.