Mermen put focus on mental health

A charity calendar has been made in memory of a young woman who sadly took her own life.

Monday, 24th September 2018, 9:32 am
Ray Stokes from Berwick on the front cover of the Mermen for Mind calendar.

Ellen Scott has just turned 23 when she committed suicide in July 2017, leaving behind a three-year-old son.

She was fascinated by mermaids in her childhood so her mum, Anna, thought it was an apt theme for a fund-raiser for mental health charity, Mind.

The family live in Yorkshire but have a second home in Berwick where one of their neighbours is Ray Stokes and her partner Mille Stanford.

Ray agreed to be the Mermen for Mind cover ‘star’ with the River Tweed and docks providing the backdrop.

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He features again on the March photo alongside Anna’s husband Roger, taken on the quayside with Berwick’s three bridges behind them.

One of Ray’s friends, ‘Toastie’, also features in the outtakes section.

“We are very proud of our calendar and hope it will raise a lot of money for Mind,” said Anna.

“Ellen wrote a popular blog and had a large following from all over the world. In her last video blog post she said she wanted to dedicate the rest of her life to helping people with mental health issues. She is not here to do this so we are doing it for her.”

Ellen had struggled with anxiety and depression for some time and also self-harmed. Despite this, she always looked out for people who were lost and vulnerable.

“Other people’s feelings and thoughts came before her own and her arm of support was always there,” said Anna, who was inspired after seeing a ‘Merbys’ calendar online.

She said: “It’s a silly thing but with a very important message – mental health needs help sometimes.

“We were waiting for some direction to do something special for Ellen that would help people with mental health problems. We had already raised over £6,000 for Mind after Ellen’s death, not just through our own efforts but the efforts of other people gathering donations for us and this was perfect. We asked permission from the Merbys to make our UK version of a calendar and their response was brilliant! There really aren’t enough mermen in the world and we hope our mermen will raise a lot of money for Mind.

“We have laughed and cried all the way through making the props, costumes and travelling to and from the various locations. It has brought us closer and we have made new friends along the way.”

The calendar is available to buy in Northern Soul Kitchen on West Street in Berwick and also from the website