On the 20th of April 2021, it will mark 10 years since our son and brother Hector took his own life. Our family finds this date hard every year – but this one for me feels particularly heavy. We know many people will want to mark this occasion – and we are so touched that even a decade later, Hector is still on your mind and in your hearts.
We are hoping to one day hold a festival for Hec – we’ve been thinking about it for ages and hoped to have it in 2021. Obviously with restrictions, we’ve not even been able to begin planning this event. But one day, we will all be together to remember Hector. We will keep you informed!
For now, if you feel able, please see 10 ways you can remember Hector this April – and please feel free to use the #RememberingHec so we can see all the amazing ways you are marking the date. He’d be so proud of each and every one of you – and we are so thankful you are still here and supporting our life-saving work in Hec’s name. You are so important to us, and we would not be able to do this without you.
Lotte and The Stringer Family x
10 ways to Remember Hector
1. Start a fundraiser
We have been so touched by the fundraisers Hec’s friends have taken on already – and we think it’s a great idea. If you feel able, it would be amazing if you could start a fundraiser for Hector’s House this month. The work that we do in Hec’s name saves lives every day – and our suicide prevention work through education, awareness and support has arguably never been more important.
Take a look at our Just Giving page to start your own fundraiser > https://www.justgiving.com/hectors-house
2. Take a look at your own journey – and be proud
This anniversary has really made us reflect over the past 10 years. That day changed our lives forever – and although we were thrown into unbelievable grief, heartbreak and trauma – we are proud of how far we have come. Regardless of your journey since April 2011, we want you to be proud of yourselves. You are still here, you made it through your darkest days, you are remarkable and we are so proud. Your life in the past decade may not have gone the way you planned or hoped – but there is always good, and there is always hope.
3. Make art
Hector was such a creative soul – and we are big believers in the healing powers of making art in any form. This April, create something for Hec. It can be a painting, a poem, a song, a cross-stitch, a digital drawing… anything that gets your creativity flowing. If you feel comfortable and it’s not too personal, please feel free to share using the #RememberingHec on social media – the family would love to see what you’ve made and we are sure others would, too.
4. Write him a letter
We talk to Hector all the time. Every day. He is so present to us still – and it is so healing. If you are feeling the need to talk to Hec – do it! Write him a letter. Talk out loud to him. Tell him what’s on your mind – tell him how missed he is. Tell him something that’s happened to you that you know he’d find hilarious. You don’t have to share this – we know how personal this can be – but it brings a lot of comfort.
If you feel vulnerable after writing, please don’t suffer in silence. Text HECTOR to 85258 or get in touch with us to talk. You are not alone.
5. Post your favourite photos of him
When Hector died, people who knew him would share their photos of him on social media. It meant the world to us – we loved seeing pics of him we’d never seen before! They brought us so much joy, seeing his cheeky face and having a great time with people he loved deeply.
If you have any photos of Hector that you feel comfortable sharing, we would adore that so much. Using the #RememberingHec or tagging us in the photos would be amazing. Thank you.
6. Reach out to a friend, or do an act of kindness
Hector was always looking out for others – he would get himself into trouble sometimes to stop injustices in public! He always gave to the homeless, he was always thinking of how he could give and this is something we’ve tried to take with us everywhere we go. In fact, we’ve started a charity in his name! So this month, see if you can do some random acts of kindness.
Another way to remember Hector this month is to reach out to a friend and check in on them. It could be a friend who also knew Hec, it could be a friend you know is going through a tough time. You can’t pour from an empty cup – so make sure you’re feeling well and safe beforehand. Asking if they are OK twice, validating what they are going through, being a listening ear without offering to solve their problems, and signposting to Hector’s House or another charity can make a huge difference.
7. Ask for help yourself
Hector never told us how he was feeling, and we wish he did. If you are struggling to cope, or feel like you have no one to turn to, please please please reach out for help. It may seem tough now, but things can and will get better. You are so worthy of love and support – and we need you here with us. Find helplines here, or text HECTOR to 85258 for someone to talk to. We are here for you, and we will be so proud of you for taking this big step to recovery. You can do hard things.
8. Share Hector’s Story
If you feel able, use the #RememberingHec hashtag and share his story. Tell everyone about him. Not just his death, but his fun-filled, hilarious and loving 18 years we had with him. Tell people about the work so many are doing in his name, how many lives have been saved thanks to him, and how proud would be if he could see us all now. Let his legacy live on.
9. Donate by texting HECTEN to 70085
We understand that not everyone can afford £10 – but if you can, we’d be so grateful if you could text HECTEN to 70085 to donate £10 (Texts cost £10 + one standard message rate). Our work to prevent suicide and raise mental health awareness is in high demand, and we are very lucky to be in a position to give each person who comes to us for help tailored support. But in order to keep this important signposting and listening ear service going, we rely solely on the support of our community for funding.
£10 will help us to:
- Have a conversation with someone who is worried about a loved one in crisis
- Signpost a person at crisis to the best care and support for them
- Spread mental health awareness through our social media channels
- Continue to innovate our educational resources for schools and young people
No pressure – we know that £10 is a lot of money, so if you can’t afford to give financially – please share some of our social media posts to help us reach even more people who may be in need of support. You are worthy and valued to us, regardless of your financial situation.
10. Light a candle on 20 April at 20:00
The family will be lighting a candle in the windowsill for Hector on 20th April at 8pm. We may even raise a glass – as we often do! – and give him a cheers. The anniversary of his death is always hard for us, but we will use it to think of the good times – and thank our lucky stars we had him for that short time. Join us in lighting a candle for him, tag us in your posts and stories, and let’s remember Hec together, even if we aren’t physically with each other.
This is important…
On behalf of the family, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for taking the time to remember Hector. But please, we urge you to also remember to take care of yourself during this time.
If you knew Hector, or if you have been deeply affected by his story, it may take you by surprise how you react to the anniversary. It might hit you harder than you thought, so for us – look after yourself. We need you well, and you deserve rest and time to feel all the feelings at this time.
Thank you so much – sending you all love and strength. We value you all so dearly.