Story of Kettering’s Johnny Mackay to reach thousands more in national magazine

Johnny's mum Denise Mackay with his sister Charlotte, and friends Rachael Nutt and Georgina Barr
Johnny's mum Denise Mackay with his sister Charlotte, and friends Rachael Nutt and Georgina Barr

The work of a voluntary group set up by the family and friends of a man who took his own life has been featured in a national magazine.

Johnny’s Happy Place was set up following the death of Johnny Mackay after he took his own life in 2014 aged 29.

Johnny Mackay

Johnny Mackay

Family and friends wanted to open an area dedicated to supporting people like Johnny and after being given space at Keystone Youth Centre in Rockingham Road, Kettering, they opened a cafe there.

It started by opening on Saturdays only, but its popularity led to extending the opening times to several hours on Sunday as well.

The success of the cafe is featured in the most recent edition of Yours, the fortnightly magazine for women.

Johnny’s mum Denise Mackay said: “It’s a fortnightly magazine and it goes all over the country, there’s a big piece on us in there.

The article in Yours

The article in Yours

“It’s an article with me talking about Johnny and the cafe.”

During her interview, she talks about Johnny, his problems, the children’s book he wrote before he died and how the cafe has helped her cope with the loss of her only son.

Speaking to the Northants Telegraph, Denise said she can feel so low at times following her son’s death and added: “It is always difficult, but even more difficult when you see it written down.

“It’s almost two-and-a-half years since then, but it’s still hard.”

The launch of Johnny's book, Norman The Caterpillar, in September 2015

The launch of Johnny's book, Norman The Caterpillar, in September 2015

But she says the cafe has really helped her as she tries to cope with Johnny’s death, and she thinks he would have approved of it.
She is delighted that his story has received national recognition and his legacy lives on with the work they do through Johnny’s Happy Place.
She said: “We get a lot of homeless people who benefit enormously from the cafe with the food and the support.

“They do benefit and they are a nice bunch of people, they are all very respectful.”

A forthcoming event for Johnny’s Happy Place is a murder mystery night at Rockingham Road Baptist Church in Kettering on Friday, March 17.

Tickets are £5 including refreshments and they will be available on the door.

More details are available on the Facebook page for Johnny’s Happy Place or by calling Denise on 07817 296900.

The cafe is open every weekend from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and 11am until 2pm on Sunday.

For more information about Johnny’s Happy Place, click here