#BatonOfHopeUK is designed to be the biggest suicide awareness and prevention initiative the UK has ever seen, opening up necessary conversations and prompting appropriate actions. Together we can reduce the stigma, and get better at asking questions, listening, and directing people to the right help. Together we can save lives. The baton, designed by Thomas Lyte will tour UK towns and cities for two weeks in the Summer of 2023, raising the profile of this issue like never before. #PASSITON
Thomas Lyte’s CEO, Kevin Baker was approached by a shared connection between himself and Mike McCarthy, one of the charity’s leaders, who explained the Baton of Hope’s mission. They explained the charity’s need for a symbol, a physical baton that can represent the movement’s core values and the community’s responsibility to support those who are struggling with their mental health and considering taking their own life.
The sheer number of preventable suicides in UK surprised us all at Thomas Lyte. Impassioned by this, Kevin met with Mike McCarthy and Steve Phillip to express Thomas Lyte’s wholehearted support from all employees across our silversmithing and goldsmithing company. Thomas Lyte will design, handcraft and donate a baton to support the Baton Of Hope’s mission.
We put together a team of in-house designers and master craftspeople to kick off the project. My colleagues and I are humbled to be involved in this campaign aspiring to a zero-suicide society. It won’t surprise you to hear that our involvement has led to more open and wide discussions on suicide and suicide prevention amongst our team. We hope that our baton will be a symbol of hope for many years to come.
The baton’s design was released to the public for the first time last week on social media by the charity, after many, many months of discussions covering multiple concepts. There is so much meaning behind each aspect of the design that was chosen. With the support of Thomas Lyte’s talented design team, I will explore each of these design pillars in the article below.
First things first, everything about the design is directional, pointing upwards from the bottom to the top of the baton. This represents a journey of hope and of rising up to meet the many seemingly impossible challenges faced on a journey from the darkness of despair into light and to a bright future.
The fluted column, designed to be used as the handle/grip, symbolises strength and a determination that is not easily crushed. It is this section where the Baton can be handed from one person to another, long enough for both to be holding and supporting the batons’ weight for a moment, forging a solid and robust connection, a reminder of how we need each other.
One of the most significant elements is the figures halfway up the baton. The gold crosses with spheres soldered to them each represent a person. Combined they form a myriad of people working to help prevent suicides, the support network of family, friends, healthcare, social and emergency service professionals, charitable organisations, fund raisers and the broader community. They are all closely linked together, working as one connected team, with the same singular objective.
Supported by the community, friends, charities, and health services, the spirals above rise up in silver and gilt, to represent the steady, supported climb out of despair. The silver spiral for strength and support, while gold continues to represent the community.
Finally, at the very top of the baton is a design based on the semi-colon symbol – this has become an important and readily recognised symbol of suicide prevention and support – the semi-colon a device that gives pause. Instead of ending a sentence, a writer uses a semi-colon to continue on. So too, with the vital support of all of us – symbolised once more by the gold that fortifies and accents the silver semi-colons – the individual may choose not to end their life, but to continue living, and discover hope once more.
The Baton will be carried by families and friends bereaved by suicide as part of what is expected to be the biggest initiative of its kind ever staged in the UK. The event aims to open up a public conversation around suicide, smash the stigma currently shrouding the subject, and promote practical change to save lives.
In June 2023, the Baton of Hope will set off from Glasgow, Scotland on a journey through towns and cities across the UK, reaching Downing Street two weeks later. We aim to impact the lives of thousands across the country with a simple message: Where there is HOPE, there is a real opportunity to save lives.
This is the promise that #BatonOfHopeUK founders, Mike McCarthy and Steve Phillip, made to their lost sons (Ross and Jordan), and to the thousands of sons and daughters who are lost each year. Carried by notable personalities, leaders, and people with their own inspiring stories of hope, the Baton of Hope will be marked by a packed events schedule giving local communities, organisations, and neighbouring towns a chance to get involved.
#BatonOfHopeUK will travel the length and breadth of the UK. It is intended to be as inclusive as possible with opportunities for people and organisations to get involved, whether they are based near the physical route of the Baton or participating ‘virtually’ via the available online and social media channels.
The UK has never seen a suicide awareness and prevention initiative like this. #BatonOfHopeUK will supercharge suicide prevention nationwide, fuelling vital conversations through live events and media coverage, with partnerships, pledges, and endorsements – all amplified through PR and social media.
If you would like to get involved please register your interest via the Baton of Hope website: batonofhopeuk.org/register-interest/
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