TRIBUTES to youngsters who committed suicide in Bridgend have been removed from a website run by Examiner columnist Terry George.
The businessman’s tribute website, www.gonetoosoon.co.uk, allows family and friends to set up free memorial pages to their lost loved ones.
The site, which hosts 2,500 memorials, featured messages of condolence about some of the 17 tragic youngsters who have died in the Welsh town in the past year.
The site, created two years ago, has proved popular with parents and friends of the victims in recent weeks.
But following concerns that internet sites may be “glamorising” suicide, the creators of Gonetoosoon.co.uk have removed the Bridgend tributes from the site.
Parents and police have speculated that the thought of appearing on the internet or in the media may have encouraged some of the Bridgend youngsters to take their lives.
A statement was posted on the site which read: “Gonetoosoon believes if there is the slightest possibility that this is the case we have no choice and must act responsibility.
“For that reason we have stopped taking dedications and have taken down the details of the 17 for the foreseeable future.
“We have also decided not to include details of any future apparent suicides within the Bridgend area for the time being.
“We apologise for the inconvenience but hope you will understand our position.”
Mr George, who founded and created the site, said: “There’s been lots of speculation that some of these suicides could be related to the glamorisation of people having websites in the event of their suicide. We just wanted to err on the side of caution if there was any possibility whatsoever that this could be anything to do with it, that we didn’t want to be condoning it.”
He said he did not feel that Gonetoosoon.co.uk glamorised death, but this was an unprecedented situation.
“I don’t feel that we’re glamorising the dead, we’ve never had a situation like this before. If it’s the case that these suicides could be to do with people getting the space on our site or any other social networking site then we’re hoping to take a lead to say, ‘If you commit suicide in the hope you’ll be well known afterwards, then it won’t happen with us, we won’t allow it’. Something has to be done to stop these people taking their own lives.”
Volunteers from the Samaritans have taken to the streets of Bridgend to talk to young people.
Samaritans can be contacted on 08457 909090 or by email via email@example.com. Papyrus, specialists in preventing young suicide, can be reached on 01282 432555.