Ipswich mums put signed Ed Sheeran guitar under the hammer to raise money in memory of sons
PUBLISHED: 16:25 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:22 06 December 2019
Three Ipswich mums brought together by grief are hoping to raise thousands for charity with a signed Ed Sheeran guitar.
Julie Clarke, Tina Davis and Laura Hall have been fundraising for the mental health charity CALM.
All three have become friends after their sons died by suicide in recent years - Nathan Davis died in 2011, aged 19, Justin Clarke died in 2013, aged 23, and Archie Hall was 20 when he died in 2015.
To mark what would have been Justin's 30th birthday the friends organised a charity night at the Manor Ballroom in Ipswich.
They reached out to local groups and businesses to try and gather prizes for a raffle at the event and had a particularly high profile figure in mind.
"Ed Sheeran means a lot to us. My son saw Ed Sheeran at Latitude twice and loved him and Justin liked him too," said Laura Hall, Archie's mum.
"For the families Ed is a local lad the same age as our boys and 'Castle on the Hill' is all about growing up in Suffolk.
"It makes us think of our boys and what they would be doing now."
With the help of friends the women were able to send a letter to Ed about the boys' stories and how important he and his music was to them.
The next day the friends were surprised to hear back from the superstar saying that he would love to send over one of his specially commissioned Lowden guitars, which he signed, to help their fundraising efforts.
"His PA came back and said he was touched by the letter," said Mrs Hall.
Deciding that the guitar was too valuable for a raffle they put the item up on eBay where they hope it will sell for as much money as possible and bolster their £3,800 total from the charity evening.
"Anything over £2,000 would be amazing," said Mrs Hall.
The money raised will go to CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) which helps support men with mental health problems through a confidential web chat and helpline..
"There are quite a lot of charities to do with mental health. CALM is focused on men," said Mrs Hall.
"We have this massive problem, with mental health particularly with young men."
The guitar has so far attracted bids of over £1,500 and will remain on sale on eBay until Saturday.