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Grieving West Norfolk father takes on 300 mile charity walk in memory of daughter, 19

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A West Norfolk father is setting out on a 300 mile charity cross-country walking challenge in memory of his teenage daughter.

Emily Owen, who was 19, died in March last year, days after attempting to take her own life.

Now, her dad, Tim, is joining two other fathers – Mike Palmer and Andy Airey, who lost their daughters in similar circumstances – on a trek from Cumbria to his home in Lynn.

Tim Owen with fellow members of 3 Dads Walking Mike Palmer and Andy Airey (51870468)
Tim Owen with fellow members of 3 Dads Walking Mike Palmer and Andy Airey (51870468)

They hope their journey, which begins this weekend, will both raise awareness and prevent other families from enduring similar anguish.

Tim said: “I strongly believe that in a moment of darkness my daughter made a wrong decision.

“Two minutes earlier or later it would have been different.

Emily Owen. (42880085)
Emily Owen. (42880085)

“Had she just taken time to think or to speak to someone, her decision and my family’s lives would be on another path.

“Instead she decided she could no longer go on, leaving behind a devastating ripple effect on her family and friends.

“She just had no idea how many lives she touched and continues to impact.”

The trio, known as 3 Dads Walking, are walking from Mr Airey's home in Cumbria through Lancashire and Greater Manchester, where Mr Palmer lives, before heading south-east through five more counties – Cheshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire – to reach West Norfolk.

The walk is due to start on Saturday and finish on October 23.

Their trek is in support of the national charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide, which believes many young suicides can be prevented.

Mr Airey, whose daughter Sophie took her own life in December 2018, said: “Suicide is the biggest killer of young people under the age of 35 in the UK.

“We only learned this terrifying fact because each of us has lost a daughter to suicide within the last three years.

“By raising awareness, we hope to prevent other families from suffering such indescribable pain and bring something positive out of the utter devastation of losing a child to suicide.”

Chief executive Ged Flynn said: “Andy, Mike and Tim were leading different lives in different parts of the country and would probably never have met had they not been brought together by the tragedy and trauma of suicide which has shattered their lives and the lives of those around them.

“As 3 Dads Walking they will be able to channel their energy and focus on what they can do to help save young lives.

“It is remarkable that these proud fathers, who are each trying to deal with their own grief in their own way, have found a positive path forward together.”

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