Mental health charity builds 805 sandcastles in tribute to tragic Scots

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A SCOTS mental health charity has highlighted the scale of suicide in Scotland by building a sandcastle for each of the 805 Scot that took their lives last year.

Scots comedian and charity organiser at Man Chat, Wray Thomson, created the display yesterday to help raise awareness during Suicide Prevention Week. 

Followers of the charity helped Wray create the poignant display at Fittie Beach on the shores of Aberdeen, with striking images showing the heart-wrenching numbers. 

Wray Thomson looking at tribute sandcastles | Scottish Health News
The display was formed as the sun set over Fittie Beach yesterday.                                               (C) Man Chat Instagram

One image shows the rows of sandcastles on show as the sun sets beautifully over the sandy shore. 

The sky is clear with the last of the day’s light having slowly faded into a small orange tinge above the touching tribute. 

Another angle shows rows upon rows of the small castles behind a large “805” that has been written in the sand. 

Lyle Hendy, a 21-year-old student who helped create the display, shared the images to Facebook last night, writing: “805 sandcastles built at Fittie in Aberdeen tonight.

“Each represents a life lost to suicide last year in Scotland. Organised by Man Chat.”

The post has now collected over 2,100 likes and hundreds of shares from users who were moved by the tribute. 

Sun setting over sandcastle tribute | Scottish Health News
Rows upon rows of the sandcastles displayed clearly the sheer scale of the issue.                                        (C) Lyle Hendy

Mark Rowlands said: “What a lovely, emotional and thought provoking tribute.”

Kerry Farquhar wrote: “So sad. Always remember you are special to someone.”

Ali Davidson commented: “Oh wow, that is very touching.”

Kathleen Seay replied: “I have lost so many friends to suicide. This is a poignant way to see the problem. Powerful.”

Karen Somerset added: “Wow, powerful in a simple way. Far too many lives lost.” 

Speaking today Lyle, from Aberdeen, said: “The day started slow at first, with about two or three of us working and we began to worry we weren’t going to make it in time.

“Within half an hour more people came down to help, including a young lad who sadly lost his father to suicide back in 2016.

“After the first hour we were flying through with progress with people from the local area, Fitdee coming down to offer their help and support.

some of the 805 tribute sandcastles | Scottish Health News
Each sandcastle represented one Scot who tragically took their own life last year.                                        (C) Lyle Hendy

“Around 16 of us in the end helped build the memorial with some as young as primary school children.

“It was very touching to see people at that age having conversations on things that were never talked about at my age.”

The National Records of Scotland (NRS) data shows there were 805 probable suicides in Scotland in 2020 – down from 833 in 2019.

Between June and September, however, there were 28% more suicides than usual for those four months.

Men accounted for 71% of suicides in 2020, with deprived areas of the country experiencing the highest rates.