Our Ambassadors

Lorraine Kelly

Lorraine Kelly

SOS Silence of Suicide are delighted to welcome Lorraine Kelly OBE as an Ambassador

Lorraine Kelly left school at 17 to work as a cub reporter on her local newspaper “The East Kilbride News”. She then joined the BBC as a researcher and was appointed TV am’s Scottish Correspondent in 1984.She became TVam’s co-host in 1990 and also presented GMTV before being given her own show in 1994. She currently presents “Lorraine” on weekdays for ITV.

Lorraine was voted Rector of Dundee University in 2004, and received an Honorary Degree in 2008.

She was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Black Watch Cadets in 2009.

She was awarded an OBE in 2012 for her services to charity and the armed forces.

Lorraine writes a weekly column for The Sun and has written for The Sunday Post and Mail on Sunday.

She has appeared in and hosted a range of TV shows including “Question Time”, “Have I Got News For You” and “Murder In Successville”.

Rob Rinder

Rob Rinder

Barrister, columnist and television host Rob Rinder has supported SOS since its inception, attending our inaugural event in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, back in 2015.

Besides having a personal interest in mental wellbeing, Rob is especially keen to ensure that men’s mental health is spoken about more often, on more platforms.

We are delighted to welcome Rob on board as one of our Ambassadors and thank him for his continued support of our Charity.

Wendy Turner Webster

Wendy Turner Webster

Wendy is a TV Presenter and Producer, known for Pet Rescue and Absolutely Animals on Channel 4 and most recently for Crafty Beggars and Brits Rescue Romanian Dogs on Together TV and My5. She is an award winning animal rights campaigner and is passionate about raising awareness for the subject. She has been an ambassador for the charity REFUGE for over 20 years fighting, to raise support for those suffering from domestic violence and has spoken at many conferences after being subjected to both mental and physical control herself in her first marriage.  She is also passionate about speaking out on mental health issues, having lived with severe depression for as far back as she can remember… “Being diagnosed with clinical depression and being prescribed the correct medication most definitely saved my life and it’s devastating to think how many people suffer in silence for the want of speaking to the right person and being given the right help. A more recent diagnosis of existential depression was a game changer for me as it explains mental anguish and confusion which started from when I was around 7 years old! Knowing how close to the edge one can find oneself when life is at its blackest, I am both humbled and thrilled to be an Ambassador for SOS and to help in any way I can to prevent the act of suicide from appearing to be the best and only solution.”

Gary Webster

Gary Webster

Gary is an actor and writer who shot to fame as Ray Daley, taking on the iconic role of Arthur Daley’s ‘Minder’. He has appeared in some of the UK’s top soaps, most notably winning a British Soap Award  for his portrayal of Gary Costello in Channel 5’s Family Affairs. Most recently he has taken on several critically acclaimed theatre roles, starring alongside Stephanie Beacham in A Princess Undone and Lucy Benjamin in Ruffian on the Stairs. But as Gary knows only too well, an actor’s life can be a precarious one… “Not many actors are lucky enough to be in constant and full time work and when I hit a lean point a few years ago I looked for work elsewhere. It was all going really well until the company I was working for reneged on paying me. As we’d borrowed against it we were suddenly in debt, which escalated until we were homeless and living in Travelodges and B&B’s.” Gary is a published author and recently had his highly emotional account of life in debt featured in ‘The Big Issue’ to universal and critical praise for its searing honesty. “Known for my joie de vie and eternal optimism I found myself battling depression and questioning whether life was actually worth living. It’s an honour to become an Ambassador of SOS and to help raise awareness of mental health issues.”

Maxine Peake

Maxine Peake

Maxine Peake is a much loved and well known British actress, who first came to the public’s attention in the late Victoria Wood’s ‘Dinnerladies’. Since then, Maxine has enjoyed much success, appearing in numerous stage and television productions including playing Moors murderer Myra Hindley in See No Evil: The Moors Murders. Broadcast in May 2006.

Maxine says: ‘I’m honoured to become an Ambassador of SOS. As a society we need to be more open about the causes and affects of suicide. People need a voice and they need support in these difficult times. As the life gets harder we all need to know we are not alone, we are not failures and that we can have somewhere to turn.’

SOS says: ‘Having met Maxine and being utterly engaged by her compassionate and caring nature, especially in relation to the under represented and vulnerable, we were compelled to approach her to consider being an Ambassador. We’re delighted to say she agreed’

Hugh Quarshie

Hugh Quarshie

SOS are delighted to announce that British actor Hugh Quarshie has joined our team as an Ambassador.

Hugh has had a long and distingushed acting career both on stage and screen.  He is perhaps best known for his long standing role as Ric Griffin in Holby City although he is also a member of the Royal Shakespeare company and has appeared on stage in many productions.

Having emigrated with his family from Ghana to the UK when he was 3, Hugh went on to to read PPE at Christ Church, Oxford.

Hugh has shown immense interest in the work of SOS and is proud to be joining our existing Trustees and Ambassadors who are all dedicated to helping SOS support more people in more places who are affected by suicide and mental wellbeing in general.

DAVE ROBINSON

DAVE ROBINSON

DAVE ROBINSON

My name is Dave Robinson, I’m 45 and live in Lancashire. From a very young age, I have been interested in music, this lead me into DJ’ing as a hobby, and on and off for work over the years. I currently use music and DJ’ing as a way to relax and engage with others in my spare time, but full time I support my Fiancé day to day as we battle her chronic ill health together as a team.
I’m truly honoured to be an ambassador for SOS Silence Of Suicide. I personally understand the importance of obtaining the appropriate support for your mental well-being as I was diagnosed with depression several years ago. It was initially an incredibly dark time for me and I didn’t understand how I was feeling for quite some time because I didn’t want to open up and speak about how I was feeling at first. I eventually did, and I’m so very glad I did, because with the support of my GP and the appropriate medication, my depression is now very well managed and by speaking out I also now have fantastic support from close friends and family. That dark cloud has lifted and I feel I have my life back. I lost myself for a while and I feel like “me” again now!
I unfortunately, also know first hand, the devastation that suicide can have on friends and family members, having lost one of my closest friends to suicide. He sadly didn’t speak out and therefore was suffering in silence. At the time, no one was aware of his struggles until it was too late. And this really affected me deeply.
Being hit with depression myself has made me realise how difficult it is to speak out but also made me realise how important it is to talk about how you’re feeling, to get the support you need and never give up hope!
I also feel very passionately about supporting others with their mental well-being, encouraging open conversations and raising awareness amongst others through my own experiences of mental illness and suicide of my close friend. Talking is so important and I’m so glad I finally did open up, talk and got the help I needed.

SOS are delighted to welcome Dave onboard.

Emma Griffin

Emma Griffin

“My name is Emma and I work at Next Head Office as a Beauty Insight Analyst and also volunteer as a Mental Health First Aider.

Being an Ambassador for SOS is such an honour for me as I spent most of my teens and early twenties feeling like I didn’t belong and I wasn’t good enough. I want to be able to show others who feel the same that there is space for us in this world and we are more than enough as we are. Having anxiety and/or depression can make us feel alone and scared but by building our own communities and support networks we can conquer anything.”

Rob Harkavy

Rob Harkavy

Rob Harkavy is a journalist who has been editor of the LGBTQ+ online magazine OutNewsGlobal since 2016.
Since his own breakdown in 2003, resulting in a trip to a well-known mental health establishment followed by extensive therapy, Rob has leveraged his position within LGBTQ+ media actively to promote good mental health and to campaign for better resources within the NHS.
Fortunately for Rob, he was able to call upon the private sector for treatment but is fully aware that financial constraints prohibit most people from being able to access private mental health services.
Although mental health issues do not discriminate on the grounds of sexuality, it is well reported that incidences of depression and suicidal thoughts are higher among those who identify as LGBTQ+ than in the general population. OutNewsGlobal has consistently highlighted the scourge of suicide and is committed to campaigning for more funding, societal change and increased understanding until the terrible toll wrought by the suicide epidemic is addressed and reversed.
Beverley Dowden

Beverley Dowden

SOS are delighted to welcome advisor and supporter Beverley Dowden

After spending my childhood in an all girls boarding school coping with speech difficulties I went on to overcome this and got to university. I spent my working life as a residential property legal specialist until about three years ago when I started to suffer with arthritis and fibromyalgia. This got to such a point that I could no longer work and I lost my job. I have had to learn to adapt most areas of my life and as such have learned to see life in a very different perspective. I am very proud and honoured to support SOS Silence of Suicide because it gives people a platform to discuss all mental health issues not just simply suicide. It’s great to be able to talk freely about issues before they get out of hand and push people to become suicidal.

Peter Devlin

Peter Devlin

SOS are delighted to announce that snooker player Peter Devlin has joined our team of Ambassadors.

Peter is 23 and from Leyton in London.
‘Snooker is a passion, an addiction, a way of life. It’s in the blood. And for me, it’s a dream, a future career, and pretty much my life! In 2016, I became the English Under 21 Champion. And since then, I’ve been knocking on the door to turning professional. And that is the next major goal to achieve!
Snooker is one of the most mentally and emotionally challenging sports in the world in my opinion. You’re on your own. And when you’re playing, there is often nothing you can actually do apart from sit and watch the opponent play, while you think about every doubt, worry, fear and negative thoughts about yourself and your life.
You travel long distances alone, sometimes after heartbreaking defeats that not only cost you a lot of money, but also crush your dreams.
You practice hour after hour in quiet lonely clubs, banging your head against a wall trying to improve, but not knowing how.
It can be mental torture. And a lot goes on inside the head of a snooker player.
This is why I support this charity. Because I think it’s very important to talk about your feelings. I believe admitting and opening up is the first stage to helping to beat it.
I do believe suicide is one of the saddest ways to die. Many deaths are unavoidable. But suicide is not. It leaves so many family, friends, and loved ones confused and helpless. It leaves so many unanswered questions and lost souls.
Inside and outside of snooker, I think mental health is something that is definitely getting talked about more. And I support the movement that it should continue to be talked about even more.
No one should be ashamed or embarrassed to talk about their feelings and insecurities’
James Harknett

James Harknett

SOS are delighted to announce that leading spray tanner James Harknett has joined our team of Ambassadors.

My passion for all things tanning started in the late 90s when I joined the now iconic St Tropez. I was delighted to launch key products in the brand such as the Bronzing Mousse and Mist. I was personally trained how to spray tan by the founder of St Tropez back in 2002 and it wasn’t until years later that I launched my own bespoke spray tan service. From a few hotel room visits, the service evolved to me visiting clients at home and culminated with me taking a residency at the incredible W Hotel London. I recently received a GQ award, for best wellness experience in the UK! Over the past 15 I have worked as a tanning expert for the world’s major tanning companies such as L’Oreal, Garnier, Xen Tan and Sienna X. I’m now very proud to be the creative consultant for Fakebake.
My expertise has been used on numerous shoots and campaigns. I’ve received over 200 global press pieces and worked on major television and film projects.

I’ve personally struggled with depression throughout my life. It’s not been something I talk about but as I’ve grown older I’ve learnt to be more open and feel I can share my experiences to help others.

I know only to well that feeling of darkness and desperation. But having such a strong caring family and the strength of such caring friends I’ve battled through and become stronger and more defiant.  It’s this strength as I’ve grown older I want to use to help others. Knowing that so many men and woman feel that suicide is the only way out pains me and i must do anything I can to help.

I’m delighted to be joining SOS as an Ambassador and help encourage conversation and reduce stigma around mental health and suicide.

Adam Furze

Adam Furze

SOS are delighted to announce that law student and SOS helpline volunteer Adam Furze has joined our team of Ambassadors.

Adam Furze is a Law Student at the University of Portsmouth and British Army Reservist. Adam joined SOS in September 2020 as a Helpline Volunteer and was invited to become an ambassador in November 2020. In his role as ambassador, Adam writes open letters and articles for SOS on wider systemic issues about death by suicide, mental health and the law on inquests and investigation into suicide.

Adam joined the charity following the death of his best friend, when aged 18 years old he lost his battle with mental health. Adam says “following the loss of my dear friend, I was astounded by how many people are affected by their mental health and how woefully underfunded and overstretched mental health services are. I wanted to channel this anger and frustration into something positive and to do my bit to make change happen. I am honoured to have been asked to become and ambassador with such a wonderful charity.”