Variety group raise money in memory of Canterbury student

The Bright Stars variety group are speaking out about depression with charity shows in memory of a Canterbury student.

The shows were in memory of Canterbury College student, Toby Parkinson, who passed away in June of this year. He was a close friend of members of the group and is sorely missed by all.


Courtesy of Sam Field

At the moment, depression is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK. Latest figures show that 76% of all UK suicides were male and at least 1 person in 15 has made a suicide attempt at some point.

The shows were important according to actor and director Ryan Hill as, “Going on stage for the charity and raising awareness is key to the group. All of us have our demons but together we are stronger than the Avengers”.

Courtesy of Bright Stars

The host, Sam Field said, “The charity we are raising money is CALM, Campaign Against Living Miserably. They are important to me because it was the charity that supported my best friend’s family following his suicide.”

Bright Stars have had experience with mental health issues like depression and try to help people with their ‘Coping Through Comedy’ campaign.

Courtesy of Bright Stars

What is Coping Through Comedy?

‘Coping Through Comedy’ is a campaign that allows people suffering from mental health problems to cope with watching, producing and creating comedy.

To Sam, it means “the only way to escape depression and anxiety by focusing on other people entirely”.

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Courtesy of Bright Stars

Actress and Director Karla Hope said, “Comedy can play a huge part in coping with depression and anxiety. Every day is a performance for me. Sadly, the reality is that I work full time in a school that has children who need a lot of support.

“Then I come home to my life as a single mum. My son doesn’t need to know what upsets or worries me on a daily basis. I do everything in my power to make him happy and cared for. Then once he has gone to bed it’s just me and my thoughts. I wonder if there will ever be anyone for me to come home to. That’s the harsh reality of my life.

“Hiding behind my smile or making jokes. When I’m on stage I’m not just a divorced single mum and I feel like I’m actually worth something and maybe making a difference to lives of others.”

To donate to CALM please click here.

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