Ipswich: My daughter would be dead without Iceni – grateful mum

IPSWICH: “I thought I would get a knock at the door one day to tell me she was dead.”

Those are the words of grateful mum Suzie Reynolds who says her daughter Jade would not be alive today if it weren’t for drugs rehabilitation centre Iceni.

Jade, now 27, started smoking dope as a teenager after falling in with the wrong crowd.

And it wasn’t long before her life spiralled out of control, moving onto cocaine and later heroin and crack, and even turning to prostitution to fund her habit.

Suzie, of Cardiff Avenue, said: “She just became more withdrawn from her home life and eventually she just left home and entered that world.

“After that, it was just a nightmare trying to keep her off drugs and keep her away from the people she had been hanging around with. She got herself into a real mess.

“I had resigned myself to the fact that the next time I saw her, I would be burying her – she was so heavily involved in that world there didn’t seem to be any option for her.

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“I saw very little of her for a couple of years and all that time, I just thought I would get a knock at the door one day to tell me she was dead.”

Jade was arrested over and over again, stole from friends and family to get money for drugs, and could have been a victim of serial killer Steve Wright when she came into contact with him one night.

She counted some of his victims among her friends and it was in the wake of those murders, with all attention focused on getting young women off the streets, that Jade seized the chance to turn her life around – but she couldn’t have done it without Iceni.

The Evening Star has been running a campaign – Save Iceni, Save Lives – since the future of the vital drugs charity came under threat when its funding was withdrawn.

Iceni is now desperately trying to raise enough funds to keep itself going for a year, in the hope that it will give organisers enough time to find more permanent sources of income.

Jade says their counselling and support made all the difference in helping her kick the destructive habit and get back on her feet.

She has now been clean for nearly four years and has her own flat as well as doing volunteer work with schools and recovering addicts.

Suzie, 49, added: “There was so much support from everybody who was there. It was her lifeline. I’m certain that she would be dead if Iceni hadn’t been there.

“Were it not for projects like Iceni, I would now be visiting a grave instead of my daughter’s flat.

“We desperately need places like this so that people like my daughter have a lifeline that they might reach out and grab before it is all too late.”

n Has Iceni helped you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.