THE family of talented artist Pete Morris, who took his own life a year ago, are starting a charity in his memory.

Pete was 29 when he died in September last year in Randwick Woods, a place he loved and where he felt a deep connection with nature.

A year later, his family are preparing to launch Sunflowers Suicide Support.

Their hope is not only to help those trying to tackle the grief of losing a loved through suicide but also to raise awareness about spotting the signs that someone might be having suicidal thoughts.

The aim is to spark more of an open conversation about such a difficult topic.

“Part of the difficulty is recognising early signs,” explained Pete’s sister Abbie, the middle of the three Morris siblings, who all grew up in Randwick with mum Wendy and dad Andy.

“For instance, a week before Pete died he asked if I could look after his dog for him.

“Apparently that is a typical early sign, people try and almost offload things that are close to them.

“But a lot of the problem is getting people to talk about it, especially men.

“People feel they can’t talk about suicide and are embarrassed at the thought.

“And then there is bereavement support.

“Even though we are a year on, the loss doesn’t go away.

“The biggest thing I feel at the moment is guilt.

“Should we have asked another question or called him or paid more attention?

“We feel there needs to be more support.

“It is easy to be paralysed by grief. It is one of the biggest hurdles you’ll have to get over, to feel as if you may have been able to do more.

“This is why me and my family are so keen to help.”

Pete was the youngest sibling after Abbie and elder sister Rebecca, and was seen as the baby of the family.

Abbie, who is a mother to Esther, nine, and Henry, five, says there is also a need for bereavement support for children.

She feels her children are more up to speed with how to talk about the topic of suicide and handle grief than most adults.

“Handling grief affects your mind and your body,” said Abbie, who lives in Cashes Green.

“You have to find ways to work through trauma, coping strategies. I had been losing sleep and having panic and anxiety attacks, something I’ve never experienced before.”

Abbie says that although a year has passed, the trauma has not faded but her ability to handle the grief has improved.

Sunflowers Suicide Support is set to launch in November once the family have obtained registered charity status.

This is the same month as Pete’s birthday and also near the time of the Christmas Tree Festival at St Laurence’s Church in Stroud, an event which Pete, a Christian, liked very much.

In the meantime the family have been undertaking Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training courses so they are even more equipped to advise grieving family members or those hampered by suicidal thoughts.

They are also running the ‘I Am Listening’ wristband campaign to help spread suicide support.

The family picked the name Sunflower after Pete’s love of nature and with yellow being the official mental health colour.

Sunflowers also grow near Pete’s grave.

A further inspiration for the name came from a song played at Pete’s funeral at St John The Baptist Church in Randwick.

The unreleased song This Is by Aretha Franklin contains the lyric ‘stay in the sun, when the sunshine is gone, and you will know the sunshine lives within you’ - words which form a cherished memory for the Morris family.

This lyric is written on a memorial bench in Randwick Woods.

For more on the charity visit the Faceebok page at