'He was the kindest' - Family share devastation of 21-year-old's death
- Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY
A family has told of their devastation after losing a loved one to a suspected suicide.
Pub worker, Reece West, who lived between his hometown of Sudbury, in Suffolk, and Norwich, died earlier this month.
The 21-year-old has been described by those who knew him as “the funniest, the most loving, kindest young man in the world” but sadly his personal journey with mental health was one shared by many more.
His second cousin, Joanne Geelmuyden, 39, of Bungay, has spoken out openly and honestly about the impact of losing someone so young to what they believe was a suicide.
The cousin of Reece’s mum, Sam, Ms Geelmuyden explained how their friendship had been strengthened by the heartbreak of losing Reece, as 14 years ago her husband also died by suicide. She said the devastation never leaves you.
“I never imagined we would have this in common with each other,” she said. “We both have the same feelings of helplessness. We’ve always been close, but this has brought us closer.”
A much-loved individual within his friendship groups, Reece enjoyed socialising and gaming on the Xbox.
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Now, the family has organised a fundraiser to help raise enough money to give Reece the funeral he deserves.
Donations have flooded in for the Go Fund Me page. So far more than £700 of the £3,000 goal has been raised. Another fundraiser, organised by close friend Joe Salter, has also raised money for the charity Suffolk Mind, in Reece’s memory. It has already surpassed its goal of £800.
Ms Geelmuyden added: “One thing a mother should never have to think about is planning their own child’s funeral. It’s hard enough having to plan this for her beautiful firstborn without the worry of how she is going to pay for it.
“Hopefully together we can raise some money to give Reece the best send-off possible. Though we are devastated, we understand that he is at peace finally after his long struggles.”
Ms Geelmuyden, who is also the parent of a 21-year-old, explained how his death had hit home hard.
“Reece was so funny and he had a great sense of humour, which makes it all the more tragic.
“He was a really, really lovely rounded boy, but he was just unhappy really, deep down. When he was around other people though, you would not know it.
“He really did struggle with his mental health but before he had always reached out – sadly, not this time. And as sad as it all is, we understand that’s what he wanted.”
She urged anyone who was feeling the same to reach out, particularly for men who may find it difficult to talk openly. She also recommended reaching out to charities and organisations for help with any mental health issues.
“You question yourself. Should I have called? Should I have done this or that? But really, there is nothing whatsoever any of us could have. You can’t force people to get help.”
Born on May 5, 2000, in Sudbury, Suffolk, Mr West died on August 8 in Norwich. As well as his mum, he leaves his step-dad Simon and his brothers and sisters Pypa, Lauren, Miley, Ray and Renesmai.
- To donate to the funeral visit the Go Fund Me page www.gofundme.com/f/let-give-reece-the-best-send-off or to donate to Suffolk Mind in Reece’s memory visit www.gofundme.com/f/in-memory-of-reece-west.
- If you need help and support, call Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline 0808 196 3494 or the Samaritans on 116 123. Both services are available 24 hours 7 days a week. You can also download the Stay Alive app on Apple & Android.