Mum says tragic Sheffield son, 15, who took his own life ‘would be proud of legacy’
A Sheffield mum whose son tragically took his own life says he would be ‘proud’ of how his legacy is helping other young LGBT+ people.
Noah Lomax, a ‘wonderful’ and ‘caring’ 15-year-old from Crookes who was gay and campaigned passionately for LGBT+ rights, killed himself in August 2018.
His heartbroken family set up the Noah Lomax Fund to help other young LGBT+ people struggling with their mental health, and Noah’s mum, Claire McGettigan, said the support it provides has been proving more crucial than ever during lockdown.
More than £14,000 has been raised in Noah’s memory to help the charity SAYiT provide counselling and a hardship fund for those most in need, many of whom have faced prejudice or discrimination due to their sexuality or gender identity.
While counselling has largely moved online since the coronavirus pandemic hit, Claire said the fund has continued to provide vital support to those who are finding lockdown life particularly hard.
“A lot of young people are having to stay isolated in their homes with parents who might not understand or accept their sexuality. They’re having to go back in the closet, so to speak,” she said.
"Noah’s fund has paid for mobile phones and internet access to ensure they can still access the social side of SAYiT from home.
"It’s also provided emergency help, paying hotel bills and rent for young people who are struggling with money because of Covid.
"The fund has given us a focus for keeping going after Noah’s death. I wish we hadn’t had to lose him for this to happen but he was such a dedicated LGBT+ activist and he would be proud of how we’re helping other teens in his situation.”
Claire set up the fund with Noah’s dad, Adam Lomax, Noah’s step-dad, Tony McGettigan, and Noah’s step-mum Jill Lomax, and it is supported by Noah’s sister Asher, aged seven, and his brother Tyler, 21.
Claire’s fundraising efforts have been recognised with the Sheffield Parent Carer Forum’s David Woodhouse Community Award, set up in memory of David Woodhouse.
David’s widow Deborah Woodhouse said: “I am very pleased to hear the award has gone to Claire because both me and David knew Noah as a child. He was a popular boy and very funny and I was devastated when he died. He went too soon.
“I have been aware of the fundraising Claire has done in memory of Noah and to do this at a time of grief to help others is admirable and very brave. Claire’s actions will have helped so many young people and leave a lasting legacy in Noah’s name.”
Noah’s fund has also been shortlisted for the ITV News 2020 NATIONAL DIVERSITY AWARDS, the winners of which are due to be announced on February 26.
An inquest into Noah’s death found he had been failed by the system due to the way referrals were handled, leading to a delay in him getting the help he needed.
Changes were made as a result but figures published last year showed there was a huge waiting list for young people to get their first appointment with mental health services in Sheffield.
For more information about the Noah Lomax Fund, and to donate, visit localgiving.org/fundraising/FlamboyantPink.
If you need to talk, you can call Samaritans on 116 123.