Family of Ribble Valley teenager Alyssa Morris who died by suicide speak out about her death as they mark her 14th birthday
Tributes and donations to help Alyssa Morris’ family flooded in after the 13-year-old’s body was found in Brungerley Park, Clitheroe, last Sunday.
Family and friends released balloons in the grounds of Clitheroe Castle yesterday to mark what would have been her 14th birthday.
Danny Holland, Alyssa’s uncle, described her as being “one in a million, just a really special little girl who we can never replace”.
He said: “The group spoke about how this time last week Alyssa was still with us, and a week later, on her 14th birthday, we are releasing balloons in her memory. It’s just heart-breaking and I can’t find the words.”
Dawn Firth, Alyssa’s grandmother, spoke of the overwhelming generosity and support the family have received from the public.
Dawn said: “We could never have imagined the support we would get. It has really helped everyone. Kathleen, my daughter, has been reading all the comments on social media and it gives her a lot of comfort.
"The love we’ve had from our town has been like nothing we could have imagined.”
Alyssa’s mother Kathleen has expressed her heartfelt thanks to everyone who has shown them support over the past week.
And Alyssa’s Aunty Marie said: “I just wish Alyssa was here to see all of this. What people have said, and the love she has been shown.”
Ribble FM, The Children’s Charity and Clitheroe Football Club are hosting a fundraising raffle today to support the family. Clitheroe will take on Mossley in their challenge for the play-off spot in the Northern Premier League, and the match day is being dedicated to Alyssa.
More than £7,000 has so far been raised on a Go Fund Me page and at least £3,500 via the raffle.
Lee Roe, Ribble FM founder, said: “Our whole team has been deeply saddened and affected by young Alyssa’s passing. Ribble FM is a charitable station, we don’t make profit and every penny is invested back into the community. It’s our job to bring the community together.
"When we heard what happened, how could we not do whatever we needed to do in order to support the family?
"We will never be able to bring Alyssa back, but we can rally a few troops, our supporters, advertisers and sponsors and ask them to help out and cover some of the unexpected costs that occur with a tragic death. We’ve been overwhelmed with their generosity and we send our sincere thanks to the whole community.”
In two days, businesses made 41 donations worth more than £3,500 to raffle off in Alyssa’s name. They include Gino DiCampo vouchers, a match worn shirt from darts player Chizzy, Burnley FC signed shirts, holiday vouchers and retreat experiences worth more than £350.
The Children’s Charity is also urging any struggling young person to reach out for help. The organisation works with schools to encourage children to design plans and projects to help boost young mental health. The children displayed 120 pairs of shoes in Clitheroe high street last summer in memory of the 120 people that take their life each week, and to raise awareness of suicide and how prominent it is in the community.
Rebecca Jane, The Children’s Charity founder, said: "My heart broke when I heard of Alyssa’s passing. This was everything our children had been telling us was a problem, and I’m devastated we’ve lost such a young girl with so much life left to live. We have to listen to young people: they have all the answers to solve children’s mental health. Going forward, we hope everyone will remember Alyssa and reach out for help if they need it.”
Appealing to any young person who is struggling with their mental health, Alyssa’s Uncle Danny added: “Just speak. Tell anyone, everyone, it doesn’t matter who or how you tell them. Just talk, please!”
Raffle tickets are available until 5-30pm today. The draw will take place at Clitheroe Football Club. Winning tickets will be published on the website.
To purchase your tickets, or donate, please go to: www.alyssasfundraiser.co.uk
For help and support if you are feeling suicidal, please call Samaritans on 116 123 or send an email to [email protected]