More than £1,400 raised at fun day in memory of Stevenage's Francesca
PUBLISHED: 13:40 29 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:07 29 May 2018
Friends, family and well-wishers raised more than £1,400 on Sunday in memory of a young woman who tragically lost her life following a battle with mental illness, aged just 27.
The family of Francesca Barrow, from Stevenage, marked the first anniversary of her passing with a fun day at Hitchin’s Anchor pub, in aid of Friends Raising Awareness Now, or FRAN – a mental wellness campaign set up in her memory.
Stevenage mayor Margaret Notley and dozens of Francesca’s relatives from as far away as Manchester were there on Sunday to help raise funds and awareness on a glorious sun-drenched day of music, animal encounters, Disney characters and more.
Proceeds from the day will go towards a room in Francesca’s honour at the Stevenage branch of mental health charity Mind – and Francesca’s mum Carmel Brown told the Comet the family would keep on doing all they could for the cause.
“It was an absolutely fantastic day,” said Carmel.
“I’m so grateful to all the people who helped, and I’d like to say thank you to The Anchor for letting us use the pub. We’ve raised so much awareness for mental health and we’re just going to keep on.
“We’ve going to do it all again next year, bigger and better.”
Carmel added that Mrs Notley, who has just started her term as Stevenage mayor, was “amazing” and “absolutely lovely”.
The mayor told the Comet: “I found it quite moving. I wish the charity well and hope that it does help raise awareness of mental health and the problems it can cause – not only to the person, but to the families as well.”
Francesca, whose mental health diagnoses included borderline personality disorder, died four days after taking an overdose.
Concerns have been raised by the Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust in an internal review and report – and Carmel hopes an inquest next month will confirm Francesca did not intend to take her own life.
Francesca was born in Hitchin, and also lived in Manchester and Letchworth before the family moved to Stevenage. She lost her 16-year-old brother John, who had been terminally ill with muscular dystrophy, when she was nine.
Further fundraisers planned in her memory include quiz nights, a karaoke contest and a Peaky Blinders evening in July.
You can still donate to the cause at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/carmel-brown-2.