Meet the Team

Anna Maria Gascoigne

I am forever Jay and Harley Gascoigne’s mam, I launched the Jay Lennon Fund initially to raise £5,000 after my son passed, I wanted to do something for mental health and chose Mind.  With the help of so many generous people, the target was achieved within weeks. At this time I became so overwhelmed by the volume of stories, similar to the experience suffered by my son Jay, from others with mental illness whose voices were not being heard. It inspired me to launch this legacy in my son’s name. Hugh and Julia contacted me and we found we had the same passion and desire to make a change and to help others suffering, so began our friendship and partnership to honour Jay’s legacy of Love, Inspiration and Change. I then met Stefan and after hearing his story, I invited him to be part of our quest. My brother Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne and actress and TV presenter, Denise Welch, are patrons and I am so happy to have their support.  Since the passing of my wonderful son, I have been fortunate enough to encounter so many people who want to help, support and give their time, The Purple Ladies especially have worked so hard over the past year hosting fund raising events.  Our team is still growing as hopefully will the support.   I do not want others to suffer like Jay and no mother should ever feel the complete and utter pain and despair of losing a child through mental health illness.

Paul Gascoigne

Paul John Gascoigne is an English former professional football player and manager. He is also known by his nickname, Gazza. An attacking midfielder, he earned 57 caps in his England career and is widely recognised as the most naturally talented English footballer of his generation.

Paul is also Jay’s uncle and has openly discusses the loss of his nephew and the importance of good mental health. Paul has suffered for much of his life with mental health problems, as well as his alcoholism he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2001, and has also been known to suffer with the eating disorder bulimia, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

The football legend was left heartbroken when Jay died, Paul had a very close bond with Jay whose mental anguish in many ways mirrored his own well-documented issues. Jays’ death sparked a year of booze and rehab hell for the former Spurs and England hero, 49, who was so fond of Jay he even referred to him as “my son”.

On becoming an ambassador for Jay’s foundation Paul said, “I’m so happy Anna is doing something positive in Jay’s name. “The whole family was devastated by Jay’s passing and I have been heartbroken at his loss. “Let’s all get behind this campaign and try and prevent this situation arising and save some kids. “I love my sister and I wish for her to have success with this campaign and in her life going forward.”

Denise Welch

Denise Welch is an English actress and television personality, she has been open
about her crippling battle with depression and addiction for years, she has spoken
out about her journey admitting that there was a time when “blackness took over

Denise is a close friend of Jay’s mam Anna and has known Jay all of his very short
life, she said she is honoured to be a patron for Jay’s charity and totally agrees that
anyone in crisis needs to be assessed correctly, fully and given the support they
need at that time until they are linked with services that can help them in the longer

The actress and Loose Women presenter first experienced post-natal depression,
following the birth of her eldest son, then battled episodes of severe depression and
alcoholism over the years. She now talks very openly about her process of recovery,
the significant role loved ones play in helping her to stay well, and the urgent need to
stamp out the stigma that continues to surround mental health problems and
addiction, “Depression and mental health problems don’t discriminate, they can
affect anybody at any time and every week I hear from people in all walks of life who
are facing experiences I’m all too familiar with.”

Stefan Brown

I’m Stefan Brown, 40, from Newcastle upon Tyne these days but originally from a small town called Berwick upon Tweed.  Moving here in 1995 to hopefully achieve bigger and better things in the city.  Employment opportunities were few and far between so I thought let’s do this.

City life was amazing, so different, much more to do at nights etc. Within a twelve months I was running my own business and things were going fantastically well.  I worked hard and partied even harder. I suppose that’s when the hard drinking started.  This went on for years. It stated affecting my work, my health, my marriage, home life, basically alcohol had taken over.

I hit my lowest point in 2012 and decided to seek help.  The staff at the hospital were great and with their knowledge, expertise and medication of course I got through it.

This is why I wanted to come on board the Jay Lennon Foundation.  More help is needed. People of all ages are being turned away when seeking help.  This must change. People think that just because there are no physical scars there’s nothing wrong, well that perception is wrong.  People have things going on inside that can’t be seen. We need to get help for these people and the foundation will be campaigning to get this help.

Since seeking help, I’ve always encouraged people to keep talking and not keep things hidden away inside.  A few friends have taken their own lives in the 40 years I have been here and I can’t help wondering if only they had just asked someone for help, confided in a friend, then maybe some of them would be still with us.

I am really looking forward to working with Anna and the guys in the coming months and years and hopefully we can make a difference.

Nicola Mason

My name is Nicola Mason, I’m a married mam to 5 children and I have lived a lifetime of personal mental health experiences since my teens. I first met Anna the summer after Jays passed in April 2016. This was in my role as leader/founder of The Purple Ladies. The Purple Ladies began in 2010 and was my response to my daughter’s serious illness and her eating disorder. I’m very well supported as The Purple Lady by a fantastic bunch of ladies, we fundraise for local mental health services, something we learnt early on, is that there are a lot of local Mental Health charity services desperately needing help.  Jays Foundation is one of these I fully support and I am happy to be part of the team with the aim for improved mental health provisions.

I’m still involved with Mental Health services and have seen my children accessing them so I am aware of how vital improvements and funding are to these services. I still believe funding and improvement is vital and that is why The Purple Ladies have remained in full support of Jays Foundation.