Family of Beth Williams say they will walk ‘in memory of our brightest star’

Beth Williams and Karen Sykes.
Beth Williams and Karen Sykes.

A mother who lost her daughter to suicide will lead a walk from Horbury to Newmillerdam in her memory.

Beth Williams was just 26 when she took her own life in April.

Her mum Karen Sykes and around 70 others will walk from the Shepherd’s Arms pub to the Dam Inn to raise awareness of mental health issues and youth suicide prevention charity Papyrus.

Karen said: “At only 26 years when she died, she was our brightest star and her death has torn our worlds apart.

“As a proud and passionate occupational therapist, Beth loved her job and touched so many lives working to make a difference and help others.

“We miss her so much, our lives will never be the same again.” It was not the first time that Karen’s family have been affected by tragedy.

Her niece Samantha Sykes was murdered in 2012 and her husband Ian took his own life in 2015. Karen believes there was a ripple effect.

She said: “When Samantha died it had far-reaching consequences. It took a piece of us and Ian really struggled.”

She said suicide could affect anyone and more needed to be done.

Access to services are a postcode lottery and all health professionals should be trained on the issues she said.

She said: “Before Ian took his own life I was indifferent to suicide.

“It seemed like something that happens to someone else.

“But we need to be aware it can affect people of any class or gender. It’s a silent killer.”

Cold, uncaring attitudes from public figures made the situation worse, she said.

She said: “When you have high profile celebrities saying you should ‘man-up’ it does not help. If it was that easy that people would do it.”

Karen learned Beth, who lived in Ossett, took cocaine the night before she died and wanted to warn people of the negative effect that drinking and taking the drug can have on a person’s mental health.

The walk will leave Horbury at 10.30am on Sunday. Search for Karen Sykes on justgiving.com to donate.

Contact Samaritans on 116 123.