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Libby's Red Balloon Walk – Graham's story

Senior civil servant, Graham, shares his personal story of grief, heartbreak, and crucially, a story of hope.

Graham lost his teenage daughter, Libby, to suicide in 2019. A beloved daughter, sister and friend who touched the lives of so many with her infectious spirit, Graham is now undertaking his own challenge in celebration of her life… and he’s inviting all civil servants, past and present, to join him. 

Libby’s red balloon walk

Next week, Graham will be walking 150 miles in memory of Libby. Graham will be accompanied by his sons, Libby’s brothers, Charlie and Will in addition to other family members and friends.  

Named after Libby’s favourite song, 99 Red Balloons, the walk will embody Libby’s spirit. They will be visiting symbolic places such as Ashdown Forest where Graham would read Winnie the Pooh to Libby when she was little. Other important places include Libby’s gymnastic and trampolining clubs. Libby struggled with a range of mental health issues and felt passionate about helping other people, wanting to remind them that they’re not alone – something Graham now wants to do in her name.  

Graham is hoping to raise awareness of teenage mental health issues through the walk and support the work of the Papyrus Prevention of Young Suicide charity, the Rockinghorse Children’s Charity and Charity for Civil Servants. By shining a light on these critical issues, Graham hopes to prevent other families experiencing similar heartbreak. When asked why Graham chose to include the Charity for Civil Servants, he explains: 

The Charity for Civil Servants has a long and proud history of supporting current and former civil servants, and their families, in time of need. Given the times we live in with increasing financial and mental health worries, having our own charity that understands the pressures, strains and culture of the Civil Service really does make a difference to us…

Behind every stat is a real person, a real family and a real story. Libby’s Red Balloon Walk is about raising awareness of teenage mental health issues and suicide prevention and including the Charity in that, is my effort to help those I work with in the Civil Service.

get involved

Help Graham reach his goal through his Just Giving Page

You can follow his journey through his social media pages: 

We can help civil servants and their families navigate a mental health crisis through our range of support. If you are a civil servant, past or present, facing a tough time – find out how we can help you

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