TT 2023: Passing The Baton on The TT Start-Line

TT 2023: Passing The Baton on The TT Start-Line

Highlighting the suicide crisis that sees 17 people in the UK take their own lives every day, a physical symbol – the Baton – represents the charity’s vision of a zero-suicide society.

Fashioned by Thomas Lyte, goldsmiths and silversmiths to the late Queen Elizabeth II, and makers of the Emirates FA Cup and Rugby World Cup’s Webb Ellis Trophy, it is the first of its kind and acts as a symbol of hope for those suffering as a result of suicide bereavement or personal mental ill health.

The Baton was passed by the charity’s co-founder, Mike McCarthy, to leading rider James Hillier on the TT start-line.

An established TT rider who has 14 podiums and a Lightweight Race win to his name, Hillier is the first to receive the Baton ahead of its UK-wide tour of 12 towns and cities, starting in Glasgow on Sunday 25th June and culminating with a trip to Downing Street on Thursday 6th July.

Over the past fifteen years, suicide rates on the Isle of Man have increased substantially and the rate in men is three times that in women, while only a third who take their lives are in contact with mental health services.

The Baton of Hope charity was formed to bring about positive changes in suicide awareness, support and prevention and the Isle of Man TT is a prominent platform for the charity to launch its campaign to tackle the stigma that surrounds mental ill health and save lives.

James Hillier commented:

“I’m proud to have received the Baton of Hope. The Isle of Man TT has a significant male following and the work the Baton of Hope charity is doing to promote men’s mental health is incredibly important.”

On learning of the Baton of Hope’s UK-wide tour, a group of bereaved local families approached the charity asking if the Island could be included.

Mike McCarthy, co-founder of the Baton of Hope, said:

“The Isle of Man TT’s bid to host the Baton was warm and enthusiastic and once we had listened to the people behind it, we knew immediately that we had to add the Island to our route.

We had already decided that we would visit 12 cities in 12 days but we quickly agreed to a special preview event to coincide with the TT.

Our charity supports everyone but there is no escaping the fact that three-quarters of those who take their lives are men.

We want to spread the message that it should not be considered manly to bottle-up emotions and people in general need to open up long before they reach crisis point and especially when suicidal thoughts emerge.”

Mike added that the Baton of Hope team was immensely grateful to the Bereaved Suicide Survivors of the Isle of Man and the TT organisers for embracing the initiative.

Bereaved Survivors of Suicide Isle of Man commented:

“We are honoured to be able to host the Baton of Hope at the Isle of Man TT 2023. As a group of individuals who have lost loved ones to suicide on the Island, we are very much aware that the Island statistics are in fact higher than those in the UK or Ireland.

Although the IOM Government is making steps to address this situation with its forth coming Suicide Strategy, we believe that the Baton’s visit to the Island will encourage people to start talking about this silent killer as part of their daily lives.”

As well as the start-line activation, the Baton was on display throughout the day in the event’s Fan Park to raise awareness and get the visitors of the Isle of Man TT to engage with the charity’s vision.

Press release courtesy of James Gwinnett, Cleary PR

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