Grieving mum deserves our support for her campaign

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It takes real courage to do what Ann Bartlett has done today.

In spite of the grief she feels at the loss of her son, Kyle, she has been determined to speak out about what happened to him.

She knows that alcohol played a part in his death and dearly wants to spread the message that just one punch can kill.

We applaud her for finding the strength to try and turn the horror of what she and her family have been through into something positive.

Nothing will bring Kyle back. But by tackling those most affected by the binge drinking culture – the young – she hopes that another family might be spared the pain of what hers has felt.

In time she hopes to be able to talk directly to children and young people in colleges and schools across the area.

Listening to what this grieving mother has to say won’t be easy. But it will be a powerful way to spread her message and we are sure it will hit home.

It is not hard to understand why she thinks Portsmouth is the best place to start. Kyle died following a fight in Guildhall Walk and this area of our city has gained an unenviable reputation for alcohol-fuelled violence.

Mrs Bartlett is realistic enough to know that she will not be able to prevent people from drinking alcohol altogether. She’s quite clear that isn’t her aim anyway.

Of course, handled sensibly, there is nothing wrong with someone enjoying a drink or two.

But one of her key messages will be that people must learn how to drink responsibly.

It is heartbreaking to hear how she had to watch her son’s heart stop beating after making the decision to turn his life support machine off.

It’s not something any parent would ever wish to contemplate but that was the reality Mrs Bartlett faced when she heard about Kyle’s injuries.

We understand why she wants to honour Kyle’s memory by doing all she can to make sure that others learn from what happened to him.

We wish her well and applaud her for being so brave.