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Local News

Friend’s tribute after woman’s tragic death weeks before 21st birthday


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A Sheffield woman has paid tribute to her ‘kind and funny’ best friend who tragically died just weeks before her 21st birthday.

Lara Lightfoot said her best friend Jen Bower, of Sheffield, ‘was like a little sister to her’ before she sadly took her own life.

The pair met at work and became good friends straight away, and ended up living and travelling together.

Lara said: “She had had a hard life since she was born, but she was really funny and kind. She did everything for people.

“She went above and beyond for her friends. I lost not only my best friend but as she was two years younger than me she was like a little sister to me.

(Image: Lara Lightfoot)

“We had a very close bond. It was like losing a family member.

To get the latest email updates from South Yorkshire Live, click here.

“We lived together, and the house just felt empty after her – I moved to Leeds because I couldn’t live there any longer.”

Lara said she was frustrated as even when Jen was reaching out for help with her mental health, she said she wasn’t provided with it.

Lara believes there is not enough funding for mental health treatment, and charities and other organisations alone are not enough to help those in need.

(Image: Lara Lightfoot)

Lara, 24, is now braving a skydive to raise vital funds for Mind UK, in memory of the beloved friend she lost in November 2019.

She said: “Jen was quite reckless and impulsive. We are doing it in her memory. It felt like it is a quite fitting way to remember her.

Where to get help if you’re struggling

You don’t have to suffer in silence if you’re struggling with your mental health. Here are some groups you can contact when you need help.

Samaritans: Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email, in confidence

Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won’t show up on your bill

Platform 1 men’s community group: Support for issues including mental health problems and addiction recovery. Visit the website or call 01484 421143.

Andy’s Man Club:

PAPYRUS: A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141

Mind: A charity offering support and advice for people with mental health problems.

Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have low mood, or are suicidal. Click here to visit

Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): For young men who are feeling unhappy. There’s a website and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58

MindOut: Provide support and advice on mental health for members of LGBTQ communities. Phone 01273 234839

“We chose skydiving as she was a bit of an adrenaline-junkie. It felt right to do something “crazy.””

“I am terrified, and it is definitely out of my comfort zone, but we would like to help, and I know it is going to be worth it.”

If you would like to chip in and help with Lara’s fundraising, please donate on this link here.

Written by: Rother Radio News

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