Response to The Diary of Ellie’s article about my mistake

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

It has been brought to my attention today that The Diary of Ellie, a blogger who I admire for her work educating readers on mental health conditions, has recently posted an article to her blog talking about a regrettable mistake which I made last week.

While I am not named within the article, I recognise the mistake that I made and would like to, within this statement, not only to clarify the facts in relation to the article, but more importantly to apologise once again to Ellie for the serious and flawed judgement which led to the mistake that I made.

On July 10, 2018, in a now-deleted conversation which Ellie and I were having publicly on Twitter, I wrote the following tweet:

“Not saying you should take your own life, but kill yourself. Love u. xoxo”

In response, Ellie wrote:

“my 15 year old suicidal self would’ve really appreciated that fanks”

At no time within the aftermath of my comment did she indicate that she had taken my remark, meant entirely in jest, as anything other than humorously. Had she done so, I would have fully and profusely apologised at once, as I later did.

The following day, I received a message from a mutual friend of both Ellie and I, who rightly called out what, while meant in jest, could indeed be massively offensive to those struggling with mental health conditions.

Hey, I don’t want to come across mean or anything but this tweet to Ellie was not ok. I understand that you have a very different humour which is sometimes quite hard to understand but I feel that because mental illness is such a sensitive and serious issue, you shouldn’t have gone about it this way and even seeing this tweet made me quite upset so I can’t imagine how it made Ellie feel. I know you and her (like you do with everyone) have banter but this was taken too far so please be a bit more careful in the future

Having realised the severity of my mistake, I began to learn lessons. I first thanked the mutual friend for standing up for what was right, despite her concern that I would take it the wrong way, for which she thanked me: “Thanks for understanding, I had to say something because had I seen it somewhere else I also would have but thanks again”.

I then went forward to apologise to Ellie, recognising the adverse impact that my comment could have on Ellie’s mental health and wellbeing. Our conversation went as follows (click to expand):

The incident, as far as I could see, was over. However, clearly my comments were serious enough that they hurt Ellie, and understandably so. Ellie and I spoke again, this time via direct messaging on Twitter, with me repeatedly asking her to explain how she felt, not only so that she could get it off her chest, but as a firm reminder that words can indeed hurt.

I mean tbh theres not much to say, its like you said it thinking it wouldn’t affect me because maybe you’ve learnt to joke about that stuff which is fair enough but its like you have to think about someone else and if that is going to affect them, I know 100% that it was a joke what you said to me BUT that’s not the point, you could jokingly say to someone that theyre fat when theyre evidently not but you don’t have any clue if they’ve got body confidence issues or maybe struggling an eating disorder and that joking comment might’ve made them force themselves to throw up, its comments to do with mental health like what you said to me that you really shouldn’t joke about at all, even if you can personally take that joke. The comment made to me triggered me a lot after years of struggling with my mental health and I can joke about some stuff but when it was so out of the blue, you could’ve said other insults or said something else tbh im just really disgusted that in this day an age people will still joke and tell people to kill themselves a joke and its not on. You don’t have a clue what people are going through and I just hope you actually stop saying things that could really affect someone.

Ellie and I continued our conversation on Twitter, with me repeatedly offering apologies for my inappropriate comment which, while made in jest, I could now see had an adverse impact on Ellie’s wellbeing. This is a fact about which I am very sad and regret deeply.

Again, I have apologised genuinely and profusely on a number of occasions to Ellie, but I would like to take the opportunity to again apologise further for my lack of judgement in making the comment that I did. Though it was meant in jest, I now recognise the severity and misguided nature of the comment, and would like to retract it fully.

I have made it clear to Ellie on a number that, should she wish to discuss this matter further, even if just to reiterate how much my comment hurt her, she has my contact details should she wish to do so. In the meantime, I refuse to say any more in the interests of her privacy and recovery. I wish her all the best.

ENDS

Incident on Fourth Avenue in York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

I am incredibly sad to hear of the tragic news in my local area today.

My heart goes out to the loved ones of both the woman who was found deceased, and the male who has been arrested. This is a difficult time for both families, and I offer them my love and utmost thoughts at this awful time.

Both Tang Hall and Heworth are safe and close-knit communities, and ones that I hope people will not be put off visiting as a result of these awful circumstances. I wouldn’t have these areas any other way.

Again, I offer my utmost thoughts and love to all affected by this awful news. I hope that the lady’s family secure justice in due course.

ENDS

Work of Safe and Sound Homes at the Fossgate Festival

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Earlier today, I attended the lively Fossgate Festival in York to run a stall fundraising for a much-needed and hard-working local charity, Safe and Sound Homes (SASH), with two fellow volunteers.

SASH are a registered charity in York helping young people aged between 18 and 25 who are at risk of becoming homeless by offering them a room in the home of a local volunteer. Their work is absolutely invaluable in the current climate of austerity and budget cuts to Local Government services.

The Fossgate Festival is a monthly street festival that takes place on the first Sunday of the month, in the historically significant street of Fossgate on the outskirts of York city centre. It brings together local residents, businesses and the voluntary sector, essential as people become more isolated due to technology.

Having the opportunity to come together and raise funds for a much-needed charity to give back to such a wonderful community is such an honour. My thanks are with my fellow volunteers, staff at SASH and the Fossgate Festival, and the charitable British public for their support.

ENDS

Lift of stay preventing prosecution of David Duckenfield

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

It has today been brought to my attention that David Duckenfield, match commander for the fateful 1989 Sheffield Wednesday’s match in which 96 died, will be prosecuted.

Having spent my early childhood in Cheshire and Manchester, not all that far from Liverpool, I am incredibly proud of the families of the 96 who have fought relentlessly against a corrupt system that has failed them repeatedly: the state.

On this day and always, I offer my respect, love and best wishes to the victims families, friends and all those who have supported the never-ending quest for justice. I hope that we will see said justice very soon.

You’ll never walk alone.

ENDS

World Refugee Day 2018

EMBARGOED UNTIL 20 JUNE 2018 AT 5:00PM GMT

This World Refugee Day, my love is with those who are fleeing persecution, violence and war across our world.

I open my heart to them as so many people and I offer our compassion, generosity and kindness. As Warsan Shire, a Kenyan poet, wrote in her poem “Home”:

“you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land”

Let us pray for all of those fleeing the worst of humanity today and always. The civilised world stands with you.

ENDS