Life saver ‘deeply hurt’ after his mental health messages thrown in bins

An inspirational Derby man says he has been left deeply upset after finding out some of his life-saving messages on bridges in Derby have been found in bins.

Rocco Hawkins has spent the past eighteen months providing fresh hope for vulnerable people by pinning up his own upbeat words – with the aim of preventing people committing suicide.

His incredible efforts have seen him this week presented with a special Derbyshire Beacon of Hope award – a new award given to groups or individuals who have worked tirelessly to keep people safe during recent and difficult times.

However just the day before receiving his award, Mr Hawkins was told of the disturbing news that some of his messages had been deliberately removed from a Derby bridge in Uttoxeter Road, Mickleover, which passes over the A38, and then placed into bins.

Shockingly the same thing has happened twice within a matter of days, according to fuming Mickleover councillors. The latest came on Tuesday (July 6) two days after the first incident last Sunday (July 4).

Rocco Hawkins says he has been left upset after discovering his life saving messages have been found in bins
(Image: Derbyshire Live)

Mickleover Councillors posted on their Facebook page: “Unfortunately we noticed that someone had snipped off all of the signs on one side of the bridge on Sunday.

“We managed to find and retrieve them from the litter bin at the golf club entrance (Mickleover Golf Club).

“We’ve been monitoring the bridge since then and the signs on the other side of the bridge were also removed yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon and, again, we searched and found them in another bin on Chevin Avenue.

“After speaking to a local resident, they told us that they saw a local woman removing the signs with nail clippers and recorded video of her on his phone. When challenged she said that Rocco had told her to remove the signs, which is not the case.”

Mr Hawkins, 37, told Derbyshire Live: “I’m very upset to find out that someone could do this. I have to ask myself just ‘why?’.

“It hurts me to know that there is a bridge that doesn’t have those messages at a time when they could save someone’s life. You never know when someone is walking beside a bridge in a vulnerable position.

“It hurts a lot that someone can just put them in a bin as if they are trash.

“I know for a fact those messages are saving lives – can they do anything better than that? I don’t think they can.”

Rocco with his Derbyshire Beacon of Hope award
(Image: Derbyshire Live)

Mr Hawkins said his Beacon of Hope award was his first award in recognition of his efforts in the Derby community.

The award – nominated by members of the public – is given to the people of Derbyshire who have gone out of their way to help others during the pandemic.

“To be recognised like this is so overwhelming, thank you to everyone who voted for me,” Mr Hawkins said.

“I never did this to win awards – it was all to help people following my own experiences in life.

“The councillor who presented me with the award told me I had a record number of votes and that some of the people that voted told how I saved their lives.”

Courtesy of Derbyshire Live – Derby News