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Page last updated at 15:37 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 16:37 UK
Rock gig held to tackle suicide issues
Welsh band Funeral For A Friend have staged a fundraising concert in memory of those who have recently taken their own lives in Bridgend county.

Funeral For A Friend
The band praised the work of Samaritans in the area

Twenty two people have killed themselves in the area in the last eighteen months.

The south Wales community came together for the gig, which was in aid of emotional support service Samaritans.

Lead singer of Funeral For A Friend, Matt Davis, said the band also wanted to prevent people taking their own lives in the future.

He said: "I've grown up in the area. I've experienced what all the kids have to experience in this community.

"Sadly I've had a friend who has committed suicide as well in the past so I definitely can relate to the events."

Police have said the deaths are not linked but they were all just "young people with big issues".

'They are cool'

Guitarist Darren Smith hopes the gig will help them talk about their problems.

He said: "Samaritans shouldn't be frowned upon or thought of as uncool.

It gives Bridgend a more positive feedback. After the suicides it's a chance to erase a bit of a bad reputation.
Audience member

"I think by us showing that we want to be associated with Samaritans, hopefully we're showing they are cool and they're there to be spoken to about any problems you're having in your life."

The concert's been organised by people living in Bridgend who wanted to give teenagers there more positive reasons for living.

There had previously been intense media speculation about the recent deaths, but police were keen to dispel rumours of a 'suicide pact'.

Some locals aren't happy about the negative attention bought by the media.

Gareth was at the gig and said: "It is knocking my neighbourhood. The area's been stigmatised and that's not the case at all."

'Local band'

Hundreds of teenagers turned up to the gig at the Bridgend Recreation Centre.

One concert-goer said: "It gives Bridgend a more positive feedback. After the suicides it's a chance to erase a bit of a bad reputation.

"It's good to see local bands playing here as well. They're local boys so it's good to see them supporting the cause."

The local council has earmarked almost 1m for a project aimed at supporting people at risk from suicide in Bridgend and the neighbouring Neath Port Talbot area.

The scheme is called Let's Talk - or Siaradwn Ni in Welsh - and will establish a network of specially-trained people across voluntary and statutory sector services.

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