Lanterns released over St Annes beach in loving memory of 17-year-old boy who jumped from car park roof

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Family and friends of a 17-year-old boy who jumped from the roof of a Blackpool town centre car park gathered on St Annes beach to release shining lanterns on the anniversary of his tragic death.

Marshall Metcalfe, of Heeley Road in St Annes, suffered catastrophic head injuries after falling from the top of Sainsburys on Talbot Road on May 7 2020. He was taken to Royal Preston Hospital, but was pronounced dead when he arrived.

Tragically, just one month later his mum, Jane Ireland, 44, also took her own life.

On Friday, one year on from the former Lytham High School pupil’s death, his sister Holly joined his many friends in a memorial walk to St Annes beach, where they released dozens of Chinese lanterns in his memory.

Marshall's family and friends released lanterns in his memory on the anniversary of his death, May 7Marshall’s family and friends released lanterns in his memory on the anniversary of his death, May 7

Holly, 25, said: “We walked to the beach and there was a lot of laughing and a lot of love. It was very emotional. The sunset was beautiful; we timed it perfectly. It was like it was meant to be.

“Marshall’s friends are amazing, they have just turned 18 and they’ve all got jobs now, and I look at them and think that’s where Marshall should be now. He was such an amazing young man with so much to give. He wanted to be in the army.”

Marshall had been in and out of hospital several times since 2017 and was discharged from The Cove, a specialist inpatient unit for mentally ill teenagers, shortly before his death. In 2018 he confessed to trying to kill himself by jumping off a building.

Marshall Metcalfe with his sister Holly IrelandMarshall Metcalfe with his sister Holly Ireland

Holly, who moved to Burnley following the deaths of both her brother and mum, said: “It has been a hard year. I have been struggling with grief and didn’t know how to get my life back on track.”

She joined Get Fit 4 Mental Wellness, a charity which aims to boost mental health through a healthy lifestyle and community support, and now helps run weekly ‘walk and talks’ for people struggling with depression and other mental illnesses.

She said: “I was in such a dark place and the charity motivated me to get out and clear my mind, and it really helped me. Running releases endorphins; afterwards you feel better than you did before. But it’s more than that.

“When it comes to grief, you feel like you’re on your own. It’s a silent battle, you feel like you can’t talk about it. But when you’re linked with other people who know what you’re going through, you can support each other. Peer support is the best sort of support, especially when you’re on a similar journey.

“Marshall had such a long fight. We spent years trying to get him the help he needed. If we had found the right support, I do believe he would still be here today.”

Holly will join other members of Get Fit 4 Mental Wellness this summer as they take on the Lancashire three peaks challenge – Pendle, Boulsworth and Weets Hill – to raise money for the charity with a goal of suicide prevention.

Her fund-raiser can be found here. “Throughout lockdown mental ill health has fast become a pandemic within a pandemic, suicide rates have rocketed, males being the highest rate,” she said. “Within our group we have each been impacted by suicide on a personal level, two have lost close relatives, and raising awareness is a top priority.

“I hope to save people before it’s too late. I want to show them there is help out there. I don’t want what happened to Marshall to happen to anyone else.”