Friends and family of a teenage girl from Falmouth are fundraising to hold a celebration of her life after pandemic restrictions prevented them from saying a proper goodbye.
Sophie Alway and her partner Lee, together with younger daughter Mia, lost their eldest child Georgia in July when she sadly took her own life aged just 19.
Sophie’s friends Sarah Brandwood and Carly Geach have now set up an online donation page at www.gofundme.com/f/georgia039s-story to raise money for an event for Georgia, with any funds left over going to a charity that raises awareness of suicide among young people and campaigns for change.
So far almost three quarters of the £4,000 target have been raised in the first three days.
Explaining the reasons behind the fundraising, Sarah said: “Georgia was the most beautiful girl, with a massive smile and an infectious laugh. She brightened up everyone’s day mostly being a total clown! She was always dancing and making others smile, caring and protective of her loved ones.
Friends say Georgia “brightened up everyone’s day“
“Unfortunately, Georgia couldn’t see how beautiful she was, and she fought a battle every day unable to see those qualities. She hated everything about herself from the inside out, which made her feel as though people only pretended to like her; she felt unworthy, and unlovable and always needed reassurance.”
She said that Georgia was reluctant to talk to someone but eventually started to open up to Sophie.
“She told her that the reason she wouldn’t have counselling was because she didn’t think her problems were bad enough and that there was just something wrong with her – she actually thought that the professionals might laugh at her problems.”
Georgina finally started attending counselling sessions and began going to the gym, which she loved.
Then lockdown happened.
The lack of routine and being unable to see her friends mean Georgia “started to spiral downwards” and she lost motivation and energy to do things, said Sarah.
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However, with the support of Sophie she came through lockdown with a routine of yoga with Mia and daily walks with her friend, even returning to work afterwards.
Then one night in July Georgia and her friend headed out for the evening.
Sarah said: “They had a great night singing and dancing, however something changed, and a series of unfortunate events combined with alcohol left Georgia anxious, upset and angry and tragically she took her own life at home.
“Nobody can explain the agonising emotional and physical pain that losing a child causes, the guilt that is left is horrendous and Sophie wants to raise awareness for those with mental health problems, especially teenage girls.
“She also wants to raise the awareness of the effects of alcohol.
“Mostly Sophie would like to find a way to provide safe places where teenagers can talk, or not talk, but be around others who are feeling the same and understand them.
“No parent, sibling or friend should go through the horrendous pain that Sophie and her family have endured.”
Covid restrictions meant that only few people could attend Georgia’s funeral and her family were unable to hold a wake or have a final send off for Georgia.
Sophie wants to hold a celebration of life for Georgia, where all her friends and family can come together and share their happy memories to show Georgia just how loved she was.
The hope is to hold this on what would have been Georgia’s 20th birthday on Friday, October 30.
Sarah said: “It will be an outdoor event, as we appreciate that Covid precautions will likely still be in place. But the pandemic has already hindered everyone’s grief, and we are sure there is a way we can create an appropriate celebration for Georgia.”