Saturday 7 December 2019

Family who lost dad to suicide help others to have fun this Christmas

Alex Featherston at the grave of her father Andy Morgan. Photo: Andy Morgan Foundation
Alex Featherston at the grave of her father Andy Morgan. Photo: Andy Morgan Foundation
Andy Morgan and daughter Alex. Photo: Andy Morgan Foundation

Sarah Stack

A mother who lost her partner to suicide one New Year’s morning has said this is the first Christmas she is not dreading.

Father-of-three Andy Morgan died tragically in the early hours January 1, 2011, leaving behind his partner Joanne Fetherston and their three kids, Leanne (19), Alex (11) and eight-year-old Jamie.

His family and friends set up the Andy Morgan Foundation after his death to spread the message of hope to everyone who has lost someone to suicide.

Ms Fetherston said facing his anniversary has got easier since they’ve started to support other families.

“The first few years were dreadful coming up to Christmas, but I don’t feel that this year,” she said.

“I have found much peace within my own heart that I know Andy is alright. If I’m happy it makes the kids happy.

“I’m actually looking forward to Christmas this year. Helping other families makes me feel like we are not the only ones going through this.”

The devoted mother said she takes most of her courage from daughter Alex, who has spearheaded a campaign to help other families who have lost a parent to suicide.

Last August, the Santry schoolgirl told about her experience in a YouTube video in the hope it would encourage parents to be honest with their children when it came to discussing suicide.

See Alex's video:


The 11-year-old is also selling pink wristbands the #isupportalex hashtag and is using the €2,500 raised from the sales and other events to give other families a Christmas treat.

So far 15 families will receive a hamper filled with goodies including family cinema passes, meal vouchers, annual zoo passes and Christmas pyjamas and selection boxes for each child.

“We asked Alex what she wanted to money used for and she said on fun things for the children, not vouchers for the parent,” Ms  Fetherston continued.

“When we came home with the pyjamas Jamie was upset they weren’t for him and Alex said to him ‘this isn’t about us anymore, it’s about other families’.

“She wanted to give the kids some days out.

“She has blown me away with everything she is doing.

“She’s an old soul in young body and so compassionate. She’s definitely going to be a nurse or something.”

For information or to make a donation to the Andy Morgan Foundation or the Christmas hampers visit its Facebook page The Andy Morgan Foundation Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Awareness. Or contact Angie on 085 2095169 or

Read More: 'My mum was right to tell me my dad took his own life,' girl (10) tells TV3's 'Ireland AM'

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