Suicide charity event in memory of Aberdeen mother

When Aberdeen’s mother, Tracy Steele, 50, took her own life, her devastated family and friends wondered if more could have been done to help her.

Now, nearly five months later, his childhood friend Mary Farquhar hopes a fundraising evening at Pittodrie will help raise vital funds so others don’t suffer a loss like theirs.

Through tears, Mary, an employee of Kongsberg Maritime UK Ltd, said: “It’s always difficult. I still can’t believe she’s gone. I had known her since she was 11, but even I hadn’t realized how sick she was.

tragedy struck

On Tuesday, May 3, after failing to answer his phone, Tracy’s 21-year-old son, Lewis Milne, visited his mother’s house and discovered that she had taken her own life.

Following a series of tragic, though seemingly optimistic, events, Tracy’s mental health had begun to decline.

Tracy Steele with her son Lewis Milne, who spoke about the importance of getting the right mental health support.

Speaking of the day he died, Lewis said: “When you know someone is struggling that badly, you brace yourself. Or you try.

“Even still, and even as an assistant funeral director, it’s not easy. I am grateful to have been the only one to be there for her.

“She was really not well”

At the time, Lewis bravely spoke about his mother’s struggles to shed light on the importance for people to receive the help they need in the event of a mental health crisis.

He said, “She was really not well.

“It’s so hard as a son…you’re almost helpless. I had to trust that all the systems in place to support people struggling with their mental health would work.

Tracy Steele and Malcolm Steele dressed and smiling.
Malcolm and Tracy Steele at an Aberdeen Community Trust Valentine’s Ball in February 2020.

“In my mother’s case, she kind of fell through the cracks.”

But Mary and her fellow Mental Health First Aid team members are determined not to let others do the same.

Special night in a special place

She said: “Most of the team have a personal connection to mental health or suicide, and being part of this group showed me the importance of getting people talking – the earliest and the most. often possible. I hope we will raise thousands of dollars to support organizations that promote this. And I don’t want Tracy’s death to be in vain.

The Kongsberg mental health first aid team standing in front of a sign that reads "Kongsberg" with the logo on it
Alan McMillan, Mary Farquhar, Angela Yule and Chris Raeburn, alongside Keith Thompson (not pictured) of the Kongsberg Mental Health First Aid Team.

In partnership with Aberdeen Community Trust and SAMH Scotlandwho will share the proceeds, Kongsberg employees organized a quiz evening with tombola and live band on October 7 at 7 p.m., in the Richard Donald stand in Pittodrie.

The club was an important place for Tracy and her husband Malcolm, as both were involved in the community trust. She also worked on the football field selling candy, pies and sausage rolls as a teenager.

“Don’t give up on yourself or others”

Tracy left Lewis, Malcolm and their extended family and friends behind. The hope for the night, however, is that her legacy will help others as well.

Malcolm and Tracy Steele smiling at the camera
Malcolm Steele – who suffers from dementia – with Tracy when he was featured in an Aberdeen FC video campaign on UEFA’s equal play initiative.

Mary said: ‘There will be people reading this, or people thinking about getting help who still have a chance of recovering – but only if they know help is available, and only if there is no stigma attached to admitting how you feel.

“If we help just one person, then something good will come out of this tragedy.”


For more information on SAMH, visit www.samh.org.uk

If you need to talk to someone, you can contact the Samaritans free of charge 24/7 on 116 123 or go to their website.

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[Suicide charity event in memory of Aberdeen mum]

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