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Bereaved couple launch drugs support fund

PUBLISHED: 14:49 28 December 2009 | UPDATED: 11:22 12 July 2010

Jackie and Ray Talbot of Diss, who have launched the Michael Talbot Memorial Trust,  with a picture of their son Michael who died of a suspected heroin overdose.

Jackie and Ray Talbot of Diss, who have launched the Michael Talbot Memorial Trust, with a picture of their son Michael who died of a suspected heroin overdose.

A grieving couple, who lost their youngest son to a suspected heroin overdose, have launched a trust fund to give extra support to addicts living in south Norfolk.

A grieving couple, who lost their youngest son to a suspected heroin overdose, have launched a trust fund to give extra support to addicts living in south Norfolk.

Father-of-two Michael Talbot, from Diss, was a promising amateur boxer, but was robbed of a career in the sport after his life was wrecked by drugs.

The 26-year-old's body was discovered by his mother in the family home in Uplands Way earlier this year, the day after he was released from a six-week prison term.

His “heartbroken” parents, Jackie and Ray Talbot, this week said they wanted to avoid further tragedies in the area by setting up a dedicated drug and alcohol centre in Diss, which has been backed by the Trust Alcohol and Drugs Service (TADS) in Norwich.

Mrs Talbot, a former town councillor, said she hoped to raise £150,000 through the Michael James Talbot Memorial Trust to form a support and information centre for users to get advice and medical help.

The 56-year-old said addicts were not getting enough support from the authorities and the current system was “totally long-winded.”

Her son was found dead with a suspected overdose on February 7, a day after being released from jail for breaching the terms of a drug rehabilitation requirement. His inquest is set to take place in the New Year .

The former Diss High School pupil had been a regional and British heavyweight amateur kickboxing champion in 2003/04 before turning to boxing. But his mother, said “peer pressure led him down the wrong road” and the family had no idea that the young family man was using drugs until 2005/06.

Mrs Talbot said she wanted to talk to schools and community groups about the impact of drugs on families and also plans to launch a petition calling for stricter sentences on convicted drug dealers.

“It affects a lot of families, but the majority of the general public do not understand. They think it is their own fault and drug and alcohol addicts are scum. But they are someone's son or daughter and in 90pc of cases they have been pushed down that road.”

“The police say there is no drug problem, but there is a big drugs problem in Diss and Harleston and it is the youngsters of the community that are suffering. There is not enough support for them. When they ask for help, they need it then and not three, six, 12 weeks down the line,” she said.

A memorial belt will be donated to the Harleston Kickboxing Club, where Michael started boxing, and memorial trophies will be given to his former schools at Diss High and Roydon Primary to support the trust.

“If we can save one other person then Michael's life has not been in vain,” added Mrs Talbot.

Contact the Michael James Talbot Memorial Trust on 01379 643157 or write to 3A Uplands Way, Diss, IP22 4DE.

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