A mum who set up a fund to support the mental health of LGBT+ young people after losing her own son to suicide is the winner of our David Woodhouse Community Award.
Claire McGettigan has raised over £14,000 in memory of her son Noah, who sadly took his own life in 2018, when he was just 15 years old. Noah was gay and a proud member of the LGBT+ community. He was also autistic and had been struggling with his mental health for many years.
The Noah Lomax Fund provides counselling and a hardship fund for LGBT+ young people through the charity SAYiT.
Claire is the second recipient of our David Woodhouse Community Award, which is funded from donations made in memory of David Woodhouse.
David’s widow Deborah Woodhouse said: “I am very pleased to hear the award has gone to Claire because both me and David knew Noah as a child. He was a popular boy and very funny and I was devastated when he died. He went too soon.”
She added: “I have been aware of the fundraising Claire has done in memory of Noah and to do this at a time of grief to help others is admirable and very brave. Claire’s actions will have helped so many young people and leave a lasting legacy in Noah’s name. She is a worthy winner for this award and I believe David would have thought the same.”
Presenting the award, Forum trustee Jayne Woodward said: “Claire is a very fitting and worthy winner. To turn such a personal tragedy into positive action and support is exactly the type of contribution we wished to recognise in David’s memory when we first envisioned the award.”
Claire said: “I feel honoured to have been given this award. It highlights the essential work Noah’s Fund and SAYiT are doing with local young people within the LGBT+ community. Providing immediate LGBT affirmative counselling and an emergency fund has proved to be a lifeline to so many young people.”
“Losing Noah in such tragic circumstances has been devastating for us, but setting up and running his fund gives a positive focus … and as a self-proclaimed LGBT activist, Noah will be proudly looking on and willing us to grow and grow.”
“I am very mindful of the sad circumstances leading to the creation of this award and I hope I do it justice.“
Claire receives a trophy, a cheque for £250 and vouchers for a spa experience and a meal.
The award is presented annually, and the next round of nominations will open in October 2021.
For more information about the Noah Lomax Fund and to make a donation, please follow this link.