Father of teen suicide victim founds charity to offer extra support in St Albans

Stuart Falconer with his son Morgan Falconer (left) and other son Jake Falconer (right)

Stuart Falconer with his son Morgan Falconer (left) and other son Jake Falconer (right)

Archant

A grieving father, whose son took his own life aged just 15, has set up a foundation to help provide specialist suicide intervention training skills in schools and colleges across the county.

Stuart described Morgan as 'cuddly' and 'adorable'Stuart described Morgan as 'cuddly' and 'adorable'

On Tuesday, May 5, 2015, Stuart Falconer awoke to news that is every parent’s nightmare - that his son, Morgan, had died.

The teenage pupil of Sandringham School in St Albans took his own life and became one of the thousands each year that make suicide the biggest killer of males under 45.

Except Morgan is not one of the statistics. The coroner passed an ‘open verdict’ at his inquest because the young man did not leave a note, or in fact, give any sign that he intended to kill himself.

Morgan did not ‘commit suicide’ either - Stuart stresses that the wording of that phrase is outdated. He said: “Commit goes back to when suicide was a crime, someone ‘committed suicide’ because they ‘committed a crime’.

The Herts Advertiser has launched a campaign with the charityThe Herts Advertiser has launched a campaign with the charity

“That’s exactly the kind of stigma we’re trying to get away from. People who take their own lives are not criminals, it could happen to anyone.”

Less than a year later and Stuart has set up the OLLIE (One Life Lost Is Enough) Foundation with hopes of providing specialist Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) to schools and colleges across Herts.

ASIST goes beyond the training currently available to staff and the Herts Advertiser wants to help the OLLIE Foundation raise £30,000 to fund up to four trainers in the county.

ASIST trainers will help teachers to become better at recognising people at risk of suicide, because, like many victims, Morgan’s suicidal thoughts were not on anyone’s radar.

Morgan Falconer when he was in Year 7Morgan Falconer when he was in Year 7

As part of our support, the Herts Ad has launched the Something to Talk About... campaign to break through the taboos surrounding teen suicide and promote the OLLIE Foundation’s fundraising efforts.

Stuart, who shared custody of Morgan and his brother with his ex-wife, continued: “He was with me all the time for two weeks at a time with his older brother; we had a fantastic time. His death was a total shock to everybody that knew him.

“Me and the other trustees are very much of the thinking that if we can do something to prevent other parents going through what we’ve been through, then that’s something, because if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. And I fundamentally believe that.

“There will be people out there that believe ‘yeah but, you must have known something’, or ‘why didn’t you see something?’ but what sort of parent doesn’t notice something?”

Stuart described Morgan, whose nickname while growing up was ‘Tigger’, as an adorable boy. He said: “He was just the sweetest boy. When I used to go to the cinema he would sit on my lap. Morgan wore his heart on his sleeve which made him absolutely adorable. He would dress up, he was creative. I just remember the cuddly boy, that’s what I remember the most.

“The horrific reality of it is, he didn’t have to die. He had his whole future ahead of him, so for him to make that earth-shattering decision, there’s a bit of disbelief there.”

Stuart initially intended to organise a charity golf day for another organisation, but soon realised there was no specialist training available in St Albans.

He then decided to set up his own local charity alongside two other parents whose children took their own lives.

Stuart said: “We’re doing this for the community, because suicide touches everyone and if we all continue to bury our heads in the sand, avoid it being a topic of conversation, then one day it could be you. We need to do something to avoid other parents going through what I am going through.”

If you would like to help the OLLIE Foundation reach its target by attending an event or organising one click here.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Herts Advertiser visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Herts Advertiser staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Herts Advertiser account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Nicky B celebrates

In less than three years, a St Albans secondary school has gone from being in special measures to being graded as good by Ofsted.

A student from Oaklands College Riding for the Disabled

The closure of a local Riding for the Disabled facility has shocked families because it had proved invaluable for those who used it and their carers.

Yesterday, 19:30
Herts Advertiser July 20 2006

Ten years ago, before she became an X Factor judge, the then Cheryl Tweedy made the front page of the Herts Advertiser when it was revealed that Sopwell House had hosted the “real wedding” of the pop star to footballer Ashley Cole.

Yesterday, 17:00
Roundwood Park school

A fresh bid is to be submitted for an artificial pitch at a school which would be used by students and a thriving football club.

St Albans Sinkhole News

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Nearly there: Over 500 cubic metres of foamed concrete have now been poured into the sinkhole in Fontmell Close, St Albans. Photo courtesy of Ringway

A series of possible remedial measures are now being considered by the county council to finish capping the 12-metre wide sinkhole in St Albans and fix the damaged road.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the The Herts Advertiser e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read stories

Local business directory

Hertfordshire's trusted business finder
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Most commented stories

Herts Most Wanted Herts Business Awards