Louth's skies will turn red in memory of Richard Madge

Louth's skies will be lit up in a sea of glowing red at the end of next month to mark what would have been the 30th birthday of a popular man who passed away earlier this year.

St James' Church will be lit up red from December 31, 2017.

Richard Madge - who was affectionately known as ‘Madgey’ - tragically lost his battle with mental ill-health on January 29 this year, and more than 300 people turned out for a procession through the town before his funeral.

Now, Richard’s family and friends have met with officials from St James’ Church to arrange to have the church’s lights turned red on December 31, which would have been his 30th birthday.

Red was a significant colour for Richard who was a massive fan of Liverpool Football Club.

Richard’s family and friends are hosting an online fundraising page to help cover the costs of changing the lights - which will be dealt with by GRS Electrical Services - and all remaining funds will go to the mental health charity SANE.

Lissa Melin, speaking on behalf of Richard’s family, told the Leader: “If we can raise awareness around mental health then we will be happy, as it is something that can affect everyone at some point in their life - whether it be someone dealing with it, knowing someone who suffers, or the families that are left behind.

“No one would have ever thought that mental health would have affected Richard, who was normally a ‘happy as Larry’ lad who meant so much to so many people.

“If raising awareness means that people know there is someone out there to listen - even if it’s a stranger at the end of the phone from charities such as the one we are supporting - then we are happy.”

The lights will turn red on the evening of December 31, and they will remain red for the days that follow.

St James’ Church will be providing facilities and refreshments for the launch event from 6pm on the day.

• You can make a donation via the online fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/melissa-melin-1, or pop in to The Pack Horse pub in Eastgate where a collection is being held. Over £800 has already been raised at the time of going to press.

• Visit www.sane.org.uk for more information about the SANE mental health charity.