School friends of the late Dom Sowa are preparing to host a celebration concert in Harrogate tonight, Friday in tribute to the much-missed teenager.
Taking place in The Forum at Harrogate Grammar School, the musical fundraiser for three charities will be an emotional affair for all concerned, including Dom’s family who have given their blessing to the event and say it is a wonderful way to remember him.
Organised by sixth formers at Harrogate Grammar School and open to the general public, Thank Your For The Music will start at 7pm and include musical performances by his fellow students and a choir conducted by Rock Up and Sing’s Rhiannon Gayle.
Although creatively gifted, Dom battled with social anxiety and mental health issues and never sang in public.
Since his death on a half term trip to Cornwall with his family in October, Dom’s parents have been dedicated themselves to raising awareness of mental health issues amongst young people.
Dom’s mother, Pat Sowa said: “We will always live with the pain of losing Dom to an illness which is often invisible and hard to diagnose.
“This is because it mainly relies on the patient assessing their own symptoms and then finding a way to talk about the sometimes weird and scary stuff going on in their heads.
“The concert isn’t just about money though, it’s also about being part of a growing movement to get us all talking about mental health and removing the taboos and shame around it so that we can tackle it out in the open where it is a weaker enemy.
“Behind all of this is a tragedy that could have been avoided if Dom had felt able to talk more openly about what was happening to him.
“There is a mountain to climb to improve the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses but there is also a lot of positive change and hope for the future.”
Already the total raised on Dom’s JustGiving page for mental health charities stands at more than £21, 500.
Pat said the family were grateful to Harrogate Grammar School for their amazing support,
She said: ""Dom said that after moving here for sixth form he had ‘the best year in school ever’ last year and we are so grateful for that.
"We would especially like to say a massive thank you to the teachers and pupils - some of whom have known Dom since he was born - who have all put in a huge amount of work to make this concert happen."
The Sowa family’s three dedicated charities are: Papyrus, a leading UK charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide via its website and confidential Hopeline.
The Wave Project which uses a combination of surfing, therapy and the ocean to help young people suffering from anxiety to gain confidence via ‘beach schools’.
RNLI, the national charity which saved 558 lives last years and rescues 23 people on Britain’s coastline each day.
For tickets, visit www.harrogategrammar.co.uk