A mother whose daughter took her own life at the end of April shared an emotional moment with the Princess of Wales at Maidenhead Rugby Club this afternoon.
Mother-of-three Sarah Renton’s 17-year-old daughter Issy Phipps sadly died just weeks ago after struggling with depression.
Today Mrs Renton met another mother-of-three, Kate, during her visit to the rugby club as part of her Shaping Us campaign, and gifted her a pair of earrings made by her cousin in Issy’s memory.
Kate was visibly moved by her interaction with Mrs Renton, who coaches the under-14 boys at the club, and put her arm around the mother before giving her a warm hug.
Mrs Renton later said the Princess had promised to wear the jewellery at a later date in Issy’s memory.
During her visit to Maidenhead RFC as part of her work on the Shaping Us campaign which focuses on early childhood, the Princess of Wales comforted Sarah Renton, a coach at the club who lost her daughter Issy to suicide at the end of April when she was just 17 years old
Issy Phipps, a keen rugby player herself, had played for Maidenhead RFC from the age of four, before moving on to Reading RFC as she got older.
The rugby ace played at county level for several years and even made the England U18s touch rugby team in the European Championships in Vichy, France last year – where they brought home gold medals.
Following her sudden death at the end of April, a charity match was held in her memory between Maidenhead RFC and Macclesfield at the Sixways Stadium, which was attended by Mrs Renton and Issy’s father Simon.
Speaking to the Princess of Wales today, Mrs Renton gave her the earrings, which had been designed in the shape of stars and the proceeds of which will be donated to a mental health charity.
Issy Phipps (pictured) died by suicide at just 17 years old at the end of April after struggling with depression and was described by her mother as a ‘breath of fresh air’
Holding the earrings in a pink pouch in one hand, Kate embraced the grieving mother and promised to wear them
Following the emotional exchange, the Princess gave Mrs Renton a fierce hug and promised to wear the star-shaped earrings
Emotional Kate turned and hugged Mrs Renton fiercely and promised to wear them.
After meeting the Pricness, Mrs Renton said: ‘The proceeds from the earrings are going to a charity called Brave Minds, a mental health charity that supports children using the platforms of rugby clubs. Mental health is such an important issue.
‘She was wonderful, Issy, a real breath of fresh air.
She had wonderful, wonderful friends, surrounded herself with the best people. She was owning life, doing so well in her A levels, she was going to do an elite rugby programme, she payed touch rugby for England and got a gold medal in the summer.
‘But she was also struggling with depression. Everything was harder than it was a supposed to be.
‘We thought she was obviously doing better than she was. But I think one of the things we are looking at is GPs, medication and lack of support.
‘She got herself in a bit of a vacuum. It’s affected a lot of the parents ands children here at the club but we are getting through it together.’
The mother-of-three also praised the Princess for the visit to the rugby club, adding it was clear Kate is ‘passionate about what she does’.
Maidenhead RFC is still reeling from Issy’s death, which shook staff members and players at the club.
Steve Bough, the club’s chairman, told the Maidenhead Advertiser at the time: ‘[Issy] was a loved member of the Maidenhead family. but she was also loved by a much broader rugby family as well from England to Reading to university, everywhere really.’
A statement on the Maidenhead RFC Facebook page after her death read: ‘Devastated isn’t a strong enough word for the Phipps family and all her friends in the family that is rugby.
‘Needless to say, that Simon, Sarah, Ethan and Elliot are in our hearts at this tragic time and as much love and support as is possible will be given to them from their Maidenhead RFC family.’
The Princess’s visit today was as part of the Shaping Us campaign, which was launched in January by the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood.
As part of Kate’s crusade into improving early years development, she wanted to discuss how children’s lives and futures can be enhanced and improved with the incorporation of sports in the first five years of their lives.
If you are struggling with your mental health, you can call the Samaritans 24/7 hotline for help and support on 116 123