Higham resident recognised by Downing Street for mental health awareness work
A Suffolk man, who lost his brother to suicide, has been recognised with a prestigious award from 10 Downing Street, for his efforts to help spread awareness of mental health issues.
Higham resident Harry Watkins received the Points of Light award – an accolade presented to volunteers who make a difference to their community – in a personal letter from Prime Minister Theresa May.
In the letter, Mrs May praised Harry for his work with the Charlie Watkins Foundation, which he set up in memory of his twin brother, after he took his own life.
The foundation operates the Chat with Charlie service at the University of Essex, to provide students with a safe and anonymous platform where they can discuss mental wellbeing.
Mr Watkins said: “I am extremely honoured to be receiving such an important award.
“I am hugely grateful for the recognition of work I have done with the Charlie Watkins Foundation.
“It is our aim at the Charlie Watkins Foundation to support younger people who are suffering with mental health, and to make sure nobody is suffering in silence.”
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, Harry’s local MP, added: “I was so pleased to hear this news because it’s incredibly well deserved.
“As a father of twin boys, I cannot imagine the grief this loss must have caused Harry and his family.
“It is a testament to his character that he then used that traumatic experience to set up a charity, to avoid others falling into the same situation.”