Statue honour for Sunderland teen who saved lives with messages of hope

A statue of Paige Hunter is set to be unveiled this week in recognition of the notes she left on the Wearmouth Bridge.
A statue of Paige Hunter is set to be unveiled this week in recognition of the notes she left on the Wearmouth Bridge.

A teenager who has helped save ten lives with her messages of support and hope is set to be recognised with a statue in her honour.

Paige Hunter, 18, wrote different messages and attached them to the posts and railings of the city’s Wearmouth Bridge in a bid to reach out to those in despair.

One of the notes left by Paige Hunter on the Wearmouth Bridge.

One of the notes left by Paige Hunter on the Wearmouth Bridge.

The teenager from Plains Farm, was inspired to write the messages - which feature the Samaritans’ helpline number - back in July after seeing people do a similar thing on the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle.

Since then the East Durham College student has helped to save at least 10 lives through her actions and was honoured with a Special Commendation from Northumbria Police.

And now a statue of the teen is set to be unveiled at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens at 3pm on Thursday.

The foot-high statue comes from Heritage Open Days (HODs), England’s biggest festival of culture and history, and is one of just 25 being revealed around England.

All of the statues are of living women who have made a significant contribution to their communities.

The project was commissioned by HODs as part of our main theme, ‘Extraordinary Women’, in recognition of the centenary of the Universal Suffrage Act.

Hundreds of nominations were gathered across the country, with 25 women – spanning every age and background – chosen to be 3D scanned and 3D printed into foot-high statues.

Paige, who hopes to have a career in mental health, said she was shocked but delighted with the honour.

She said: “I can’t even describe how I’m feeling about it - it’s mad.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all.

“I found out about the statue four weeks ago and had to go to Newcastle to they could scan my body for it and then I was able to see the outline of it.

“The whole thing was made two weeks later and it’s like a mini-replica of me.

“My whole family are really proud and they are all going along to the unveiling.”

Paige added: “It was back in July when I left the notes and I was so shocked to have saved those lives, as I wasn’t even expecting to save one life.

“People have been leaving feedback on Facebook and saying that it is inspirational and that I deserve it.

“Some people have even said that they wouldn’t be here without me, so it is very emotional.”