THE FAMILY of a popular Teessider who tragically took his own life have created a touching tribute to him to encourage other grieving families to seek support.
After “loving and caring” dad-of-three Russ Devereux took his own life in 2018, his wife, Catherine, launched a charity called the Headlight Project in his memory.
Now Russ’ dad, Ken Devereux, has wrapped one of his firm’s trucks in the charity’s branding to help raise awareness of the Headlight Project’s important work.
The Stockton-based charity provides support, including counselling and therapy, for those bereaved by suicide and Ken hopes the vehicle will encourage those battling grief to seek support.
“The pain of losing Russ is indescribable and one I hope no parent ever has to suffer,” admitted Ken, who is the director of Devereux Transport and Distribution.
“Sadly, suicide is becoming more common, especially in the North East. That’s why I wanted to do what I could to make people aware that there’s help available if they are enduring the same pain that our family has experienced through losing our beloved Russ.”
The truck will carry the Headlight Project’s logo along with the moving message ‘A guiding light when the road ahead is dark’.
“The truck will be operational across the North East so we thought this was a great way of making thousands of people a week aware of the charity’s wonderful work,” added Ken, who is also a Headlight Project trustee.
“The sad reality is that, given the scale of suicide in the region, many of those people could benefit from the incredible work the Headlight Project does every day.”
The eye-catching wrap was painted by North East Truck & Van of Billingham after being designed by Mark Easby at Middlesbrough-based branding experts Better.
The project has been in the pipeline for several months and Mark said he was “proud” to support the charity amid growing need for its services.
“We offer our resources and expertise to support the charity, and we are proud and privileged to work with the team to bring this idea to life,” he added.
“We look forward to seeing the truck on the roads across Tees Valley to help increase awareness of the vital support Headlight provides for families all across our local communities.”
However, the project was finally finished just as new Office of National Statistics (ONS) data revealed that the North East once again has the highest suicide rate in the UK.
The region has claimed the unwanted title for the past three years, and Russ’ widow Catherine said action was urgently needed to change the tide.
“The pain of losing Russ will never leave our family. He was an amazing dad, husband and human being,” added Catherine.
“But I wanted to create a legacy for Russ and to create a charity that represented hope – that’s why we launched the Headlight Project.
“So far we’ve helped hundreds of people in the North East through their darkest days, and while we hope nobody ever loses someone to suicide, hopefully this vehicle will make people aware that the Headlight Project is here for them if they do.”