One of Britain’s best-known TV presenters is doing a special event for a Huddersfield charity and has made an impassioned plea for people to support it.
Eamonn Holmes has become patron for the Platform 1 mental health charity in the town and is to hold an event called An Evening With Eamonn Holmes in late October.
Eamonn – who now presents the breakfast show on GB News after many years on ITV’s This Morning – first saw the charity on BBC’s The One Show. When he discovered more about how Platform 1 is a vital frontline service for people in mental health crisis he agreed to become its patron.
Platform 1 has faced some tough times financially in recent months so project leader Gez Walsh and Eamonn came up with the idea for the fundraiser at Huddersfield Town Hall on October 27 at 7.30pm.
Eamonn has seen the terrible impact of mental health in his family.
He is married to TV presenter Ruth Langsford and her sister, Julia Johnson, took her own life in 2019 at the age of 62, devastating the family.
Eamonn, 63, said: “Julia had suffered from depression for years but felt it was impossible to get help on the NHS – and that’s not the fault of people who work in NHS mental health services, it’s just that it’s not resourced.
“That’s why charities like Platform 1 and other small mental health charities are so important and need to be supported by people living in the areas they serve. Platform 1 is a small charity doing amazing things in a place where its services are clearly desperately needed.
“I come from north Belfast and that area has the highest suicide rate among young men than anywhere else in western Europe. Why? There are probably so many factors such as unemployment and people having no hope and no sense of direction in a world that seems to get tougher and tougher, especially with the current horrendous cost of living crisis.
“Mental health is such a complex condition yet people suffering with it are often totally reliant on charities for help, support and guidance.”
Eamonn saw Platform 1 on The One Show when the programme donated a revamped Pacer train to the charity for its base at Huddersfield Railway Station.
“I was bowled over by what Gez was doing and it stuck in my mind,” said Eamonn. “I thought who is this man and why does he care so much? This event in October is all about raising money for Platform 1. If people care about mental health services in the Kirklees area then please come along and support it as all the money is going to the charity.
“With small charities like this every pound counts so please let’s make as much as we can to give Platform 1 the funding it needs to literally keep on saving lives. It’s so important this service survives. The more seats we sell, the more we’ll secure Platform 1’s existence in the future and the free help it gives to local people.”
Eamonn, who received the OBE for services to broadcasting in 2018, said doing An Evening With is a first for him.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” he said. “The first half will be me talking about my life – and there have been some tough and challenging times in it but I’ll throw in humour too – with Gez sitting opposite asking the questions. I’ll also be talking about what I’ve seen in terms of mental health.
“In a sense, I’ll be in the psychiatrist’s chair watched by the public. I’m an open book and I’ve been through an awful lot in my life but don’t mind talking about it.
“In some ways I sometimes wonder why my life experiences haven’t broken me. I must have some kind of coping mechanism. In my head I’m OK and I feel very blessed by that.”
In the second half Eamonn will answer questions from the audience and people will be asked to submit them in writing a few weeks before the event.
If you’re looking for questions, Eamonn has revealed what makes him angry.
“Bullying,” he said. “And people in the public eye who pretend to be one thing and are exactly the opposite. Our disrespect as a society towards the elderly leaves a lot to be desired as well. Litter louts, fly tippers and the abuse of animals also bring out the worst in me.”
Eamonn added: “October’s event is an entirely new format for me so let’s see how it goes and it may be it inspires me to do more in other parts of the country.”
Tickets for the event cost £25 and to buy them go to https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/town-halls/book-tickets.aspx and click on the box for October events.
Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.