Sir Keir Starmer has spoken of his “admiration” for a group of dads campaigning to make suicide prevention a compulsory part of the school curriculum. 

The Labour leader met with 3 Dads Walking at Durham Cathedral during the 10th day of the trio’s Walk of Hope across the country. 

The group received national acclaim after launching an online petition to include suicide prevention on the national curriculum. 

The campaigners are made up of Norfolk’s Tim Owen, who lives in Shouldham near King's Lynn, Andy Airey and Mike Palmer. 

Eastern Daily Press: Tim Owens, who lives near King's Lynn, lost his daughter to suicide

They began the petition in memory of their daughters – 19-year-old Emily Owen, Sophie Airey, 29, and Beth Palmer, 17 – who all died by suicide.    

Their walks have generated more than £1m for the charity PAPYRUS, which focuses on the prevention of young suicide. 

This year’s walk started in Stirling, Scotland, and will see the dads crossing the finish line on day 25 in Norwich city centre

Sir Keir said it had been “an honour” to meet with them. 

He added: “My admiration for you because just to go through that and then to turn it into something that prevents it for other people is an incredible thing to do. 

“I've got a boy who’s 15 and a girl who is 13. I honestly ask myself, how would I react? I don’t know. 

“But my instinct tells me I just wouldn’t be able to come back out and do what you’re doing. 

“If we get over the line and come into service, we want to review the curriculum.” 

The dads reminded him that suicide is the biggest killer of under 35s, adding: “We’re not experts – we’re just three dads walking. But we’ve met so many people along the way who really do know what they’re doing. 

“Suicide is the biggest risk to our young people in this country – so our question is, why aren’t we talking to them about it?” 

Eastern Daily Press: Sir Keir Starmer met with 3 Dads Walking

Sir Keir has previously suggested that Labour would consider proposals to include better education surrounding mental health in the school curriculum. 

  • If you are having thoughts of suicide, contact HOPELINE247 for confidential support and practical advice by calling 0800 068 4141, texting 88247, or emailing