Matthew Harding’s family has said thank you to the Trentham community for voting on a project to honour their beloved father and partner.
Harding’s partner Freya Maclaren said the art installation project meant so much to her and 10-year-old Arabella, nine-year-old Lulu, six-year-old Holly and four-year-old Hugo.
“It means so much for so many people to appreciate Matt’s work and that we are now able to give back to the town that has looked after us so well since Matt’s death,” she said.
“I feel so touched that members of the community went to so much work to put this together and that Matt meant so much to them to do so.”
Ms Maclaren said the installation would be a positive landmark for the family, which the children would walk past every day.
“It is going to mean so much for the children – that even though their dad is gone, he has left something behind to give to the whole community.”
Ms Maclaren said the issue of suicide in regional communities was prevalent, where men worked hard and there was a culture of internalising their feelings.
“Since Matt’s death, I’ve realised what a big issue suicide is, particularly with males in regional areas,” she said. “Anything we can do to value and appreciate our men and understand how hard it is and what they go through, we should.
“I don’t have any answers. I don’t know what’s needed but I know something is. What has been important to me is not to gloss over this or pretend it didn’t happen, but about reaching out to other people who have been affected by suicide and moving away from the stigma and the shame that surrounds it.”
She said her eldest daughter had asked her what she would say to her dad if she could go back in time.
“I just told her that I would tell him to stay with us. If I could say anything to somebody who was suicidal, I’d just tell them to stay. You might not feel loved right now, but you are. And there is no way that the world is better without you.”
- Lifeline – 13 11 14 – or Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636.