Town centre vigils to mark World Suicide Prevention Day

Published Tuesday 31 August 2021 at 10:42

A 40 second’s silence will fall upon Blackburn and Darwen on Friday 10 September to raise awareness of suicide in the borough.

The mark of respect will come as part of two public vigils outside Blackburn and Darwen Town Halls, hosted by Blackburn with Darwen Council, to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.

Working with the Blackburn with Darwen Suicide Prevention Strategy Group and key local partner organisations, the vigils will help amplify an ongoing programme of events, activities, training opportunities and suicide awareness raising in the borough.

This year’s proceedings will begin at 10am with a multi-faith vigil outside Blackburn Town Hall featuring speeches and the lighting of a candle.

The main part of the vigil will include a 40 seconds silence to signify that one person dies of suicide around the world every 40 seconds.

At 10.30am a candlelight procession will invite people to ‘walk a mile in someone else’s shoes’ around the town centre.

Representatives will carry the candle to Darwen where a vigil will take place in Darwen Town Hall Square at 12.30pm, followed by the walk at 1pm.

Key local figures will provide speeches, with this year’s events being particularly poignant with the sad death of local suicide prevention advocate, Tony Harrison, earlier in this year. Tony was a tireless advocate for the cause after losing his only child, Vicky, to suicide in 2010.

He was the driving force behind the borough’s previous two Suicide Prevention Day vigils. There will be a special tribute to Tony at both services.

The vigils will also recognise those in our communities who have completed a Suicide Prevention Course. These members of the community are distinguishable by their Orange Buttons   Orange Button – Every Life Matters (

The Orange Button scheme is a way of showing others you are comfortable to say / hear the word suicide, can listen without judgement and you can inform people where to find help and support.

In the lead up to the day, Blackburn with Darwen Council will also be flooding social media with messages of support and advice, helping reduce the stigma around the subject and the number of suicides. Links to suicide prevention training courses within the borough will also be advertised.

On the day, the digital screen in Blackburn Town Centre will also carry information an graphics for key local mental health and suicide prevention services.

Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:

Between 2017 and 2019, 33 people took their own life in Blackburn with Darwen. One in every 100 deaths worldwide is the result of suicide. Each and every suicide is devastating and has a profound impact on those around them.

The response to our previous years’ vigils have been excellent and this year’s promises to be even bigger and better with activity in both towns. I would encourage everyone to come down and show we are firmly behind suicide prevention in Blackburn with Darwen.

Councillor Brian Taylor, an advocate for mental health and suicide prevention, said:

World Suicide Prevention Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of suicide and to create hope through action to reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts.

We invite people to join us on the day and to help tackle the stigma around suicide.

There are many services and organisations available to support people’s mental health and wellbeing. We’ve gathered a list together here:

If you would like to complete Suicide Prevention training and become an Orange Badge holder please visit or complete the online training

Blackburn Event –

Darwen Event –


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