A Norfolk father made an MBE for his campaign to raise money for suicide prevention after he lost his daughter has described the honour as "bittersweet".

Tim Owen, from Shouldham, started Three Dads Walking, with Andy Airey and Mike Palmer, after their daughters - Emily, 19, Sophie, 29 and Beth, 17 - took their own lives.

The trio have taken part in a string of fundraising walks to bring in money for the young suicide prevention charity Papyrus, for which they have raised more than £1.4m.

Most recently they completed a 500-mile walk from Stirling in Scotland to Norwich.

Tim Owen, from Shouldham, Andy Airey, from Cumbria, and Mike Palmer, from ManchesterTim Owen, from Shouldham, Andy Airey, from Cumbria, and Mike Palmer, from Manchester (Image: Archant 2021)

The three fathers were each made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the King’s Birthday Honours list.

Mr Owen said: "For all of us, it’s bittersweet because the only reason we're getting this honour is because of the work we've done after we’ve all lost our daughters to suicide.

"All three of us in a heartbeat would swap this award, this honour, to get our girls back."

He added: "We’re humbled but all three of us would rather not be in this position. But now we are in this position, we’re very grateful."

He said peer support was "important" for parents who have lost their children to suicide because of "an unspoken bond between you".

He said: "To know the other two – Mike and Andy – know how you feel about losing your daughter – that’s so powerful."

The Three Dads fundraising efforts helped Papyrus extend the hours of its suicide prevention helpline to a 24-hour service and open more offices.

The charity said suicide is the main cause of death in young people under the age of 35 in the UK.

The three fathers spoke to political leaders during their walks including prime minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

The Three Dads have campaigned for suicide prevention lessons – currently optionally taught to age-appropriate children – to become a statutory part of the curriculum.

Tim Owen with his daughter EmilyTim Owen with his daughter Emily For confidential suicide prevention help and advice, the Papyrus 24/7 helpline can be contacted on 0800 068 4141, by texting 88247 or emailing pat@papyrus-uk.org