Belfast Telegraph

Memorial walk pays tribute to teenager Frankie Brown

Brave Kyle takes part after losing his brother to suicide

By Allan Preston

A Co Antrim teenager who lost his brother to suicide last month, two years after both their parents died, has supported an event to raise awareness of mental health issues.

Kyle Brown lost his 17-year-old brother Frankie on May 30, two years after his parents Frankie Snr (46) and Donna (48) died within 19 days of each other.

Last Monday, the teenager was laid to rest with his parents at Carnmoney cemetery.

On Saturday, Kyle bravely took part in a 10km memorial walk with around 20 friends from Hazelbank Park towards Carrickfergus.

Along the way they held banners with the message: "It's ok to talk". He also paid a heartfelt tribute to his brother on social media earlier last week.

"Rest in peace my brother, my twin. Gonna miss you more than life itself Frankie, I really will," he said.

Family friend Si Harvey organised the event in part to help the family pay for funeral expenses, as well as highlighting the importance of mental health.

"I spoke to them all and said 'you need to stick together', because suicide is too high-profile at the moment.

"I tried to explain to them yesterday that although Frankie was no longer suffering, there are maybe five or six people who are breaking down in tears every few minutes.

"I've lost two friends to suicide in recent years. They were under pressure with debt.

"Frankie was struggling with losing both his parents when he was just 14.

"He really suffered because of that and I don't think there was enough help for him."

Mr Harvey added: "I had Kyle and his sister round for a barbecue last night, there were of course a lot of tears.

"But I said I would help to organise a walk every year and we'd always remember their brother."

So far, around £400 has been raised to help with funeral expenses.

Further donations can be made online to Mr Harvey's PayPal account by visiting paypal.me/simonjh1972, with the proceeds to be passed to Mulholland funeral directors in Carrick.

"I offered to do this because I know what they've been through. My son's been friends with Kyle for years; the day after Frankie died he said 'I can't believe they're still having to pay their mum and dad's funeral off'.

"That was horrible to hear for such a young family.

"Kyle has some stability in his life now, but he knows he can come round to our house any time for a cup of tea and even if he needs a shoulder to cry on.

"I've told my son as well, 'do not feel there's something you can't tell me'. I have my own problems, but they've had to go through this without any help."

Last week, police in Carrickfergus posted on their Facebook page to urge young people who are struggling to reach out for help.

"(Frankie) was just like any other young fella, a bit mischievous, cheeky and fun loving, but unlike many other teenagers Frankie suffered the loss of both parents in a short space of time, something no child of that age expects," the message read.

"That trauma had an understandably damaging effect on him and at the end of last month in very sad and sudden circumstances we lost Frankie."

If you are affected by any of the issues in this article, contact the Samaritans on 116123 or Childline on 0800 1111.

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