Yorkshire suicide memorial quilt unveiled in Leeds Millennium Square

Leeds city centre saw dozens of families who lost loved ones to suicide come together this weekend in a cathartic show of emotion.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Yorkshire Speak Their Name, unveiled a gigantic, four-part memorial quilt, created by those bereaved to suicide with connections to the Yorkshire region, in Millennium Square on Saturday.

Karen Sykes, who founded the community interest company, lost her husband and daughter to suicide in 2015 and 2019 respectively. She said the quilt was created by those whose lives had been touched by suicide.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It’s been 12 months in the making,” she said. “My husband died suddenly with no warning.

Dozens of people attended the event on Saturday. (Pic: Richard Beecham)Dozens of people attended the event on Saturday. (Pic: Richard Beecham)
Dozens of people attended the event on Saturday. (Pic: Richard Beecham)

"Being bereaved to suicide puts you in a higher risk group, so I wanted to be involved to raise awareness for suicide prevention as well.

"After I lost Bethany and Ian, I found it really hard to concentrate on my own mental health and my anxiety.

"Sewing and learning to crochet helped with my own anxiety and mental health, so this project offers two platforms.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"When you are bereaved to suicide, it’s a different kind of loss. You are more isolated.

"People ask questions like ‘didn’t you realise?’ but you wouldn’t ask that if somebody had died of cancer.

"You blame yourself – you think ‘should I have known? why didn’t they tell me?’ so whatever we can do to raise awareness and support people, that’s all that matters.”

Each square of the quilt is 10-by-10 inches and was created by an individual bereaved to suicide.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Each square is completely different,” added Karen. “Some are embroidered, some are painted, some use pictures of them.

"They are not perfect, but as human beings we are not perfect, so that is what it is about. It is made with love and that’s it."

The quilt is set to commence a tour of Yorkshire, with confirmed dates at York Minster from November 3-13, Hull Minster in March 2022 and Wakefield Cathedral in May.

Read More
Iconic places in Leeds: Roundhay Park is 'as loved now as it was 150 years ago'

For more information, or to become involved with the group, email [email protected].

If you have been recently bereaved by suicide and need to speak to someone, the Samaritans are available on 116 123 or contact Cruise Bereavement Support.