A charity gala dinner in aid of mental health which sold out in 48 hours will be held at the Guildhall on Saturday, organised by a grandmother from Durrington. 

Lucie Jones, 52, began planning this event two years ago in support of her friends who lost sons to suicide and her aim is to increase awareness of the mental health support available and raise funds for charity. 

After being postponed due to Covid last year the event will finally be held on Saturday, November 13, for approximately 150 people with all proceeds going to two mental health charities. 

On what compelled her to invest so much of her own money and time into this event, Lucie who retired from care work recently after 18 years, said: “You know when you keep looking at the sadness in all their faces, and I just thought I’ve got to do something.

“If on the night we can help one person who’s secretly suffering, then I’ve actually done what I’ve set out to do. Helped somebody."

The grandmother of nine said that after Covid the event became even more important, adding: “I’m sure you’ll agree that during this tough time mental health took its toll on so many.

“As they say, it’s ok not to be ok.”

The two charities she has chosen to support are the Salisbury Samaritans, where funding will help increase volunteers and local support, and the Lions Barber Collective, an international group which train barbers to spot signs of suicidal thoughts and depression and signpost people towards help. 

Salisbury Journal: Lucie Jones attended a workshop with The Lions Barbers Collective. She learnt firsthand how their work helps people, a key decision behind her choosing them as the second charity. Lucie Jones attended a workshop with The Lions Barbers Collective. She learnt firsthand how their work helps people, a key decision behind her choosing them as the second charity.

During the event , there will be a three course meal with talks from both charities and guests who have lost relatives to suicide.

The night will be rounded off by a local band,The Treblemakers, who have waived their fee for charity. 

There will also be a raffle with over 50 prizes including a £250 Red Letter Days Voucher, a day at the Wincanton Races for six, multiple gift hampers, and vouchers from local businesses.

Lucie describes the response the event has gotten as ‘fantastic’, highlighting the generosity of local helpers and businesses. 

In terms of whether she is nervous about holding her first event of this scale, Lucie said: “The public speaking had worried me, but after practising I know I’m going to be absolutely fine because it’s going to come from the heart on the night.”

Her only regret is that she did not find a sponsor to cover the costs of the event itself, which she said are around £5,000. 

Salisbury Mayor Caroline Corbin, who is also an ambassador for mental health, will also be attending the event. 

She said: “ I am pleased that Lucie has organised the event to raise funds and awareness for Mental Health. It’s also an honour to be invited to attend.

“It is great that so many people have donated prizes for the raffle and have been patient for the event to take place as it was delayed. Hopefully lots of funds will be raised."

Those who are not attending the event can also enter the raffle by calling Lucie Jones on: 07719058024

Donations are also being collected on the event's GofundMe page set up by Lucie's daughter. 

If you are currently struggling with your mental health, or going through something and are in need of someone to talk to, don't hesitate to contact Samaritans anytime day or night for free on 116 123. 

You can also email them at jo@samaritans.org

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