Mum's tribute to 'amazing' son amid mental health plea
Danielle Booden and Lauren Fitchett
- Credit: Tracy Clark
The mother of an 18-year-old who took his life has paid tribute to him, and urged young people to talk about their feelings.
Connor Clark, 18, who lived in Thorpe St Andrew with mum Tracy, dad Andy and big brother Alexander, died in June while training to be a Royal Marine in Lympstone, Devon.
His death has inspired thousands of pounds to be raised for his rugby club, and a Norfolk band has now released a charity single in his memory.
Mrs Clark, who is now aiming to raise awareness around mental health, said: "As a mum I am shocked and shaken, and my mantra is heartbroken but not broken.
"I have a 20-year-old son I still need to be strong for."
She said after Connor's death a fundraiser had been held at the Crusaders rugby club in Little Melton, where he used to play, which raised £17,000.
Memorial matches will now be held in his memory.
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The family had lived in Norfolk for six and a half years, having moved from the Netherlands and, before that, New Zealand.
"He was an amazing young man," she said.
"Since his death I have had girls contact me from his high school saying he was the boy who used to look after me at parties. He was really kind.
"At school he would get awards for the most considerate student, and we only had positive feedback from his teachers.
"This came as such a shock."
She said her focus in the last few months had been to talk about mental health and encourage other young people to open up about difficult times.
"Awareness is everything," she said. "I don't want another parent or sibling to have a broken heart. It's okay not to be okay."
Norfolk indie-rock band Red Wine Talk is hoping to raise more than £1,000 for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) with its single The Deep Blue Sea Between Us, which will be released on December 1.
Songwriter and guitarist Callum Rob says the nine-minute track "fell from his guitar", but that it was driven by emotion.
Having already headed into The Mill Studio in Diss to record the track, it will now be mixed and mastered for release on CD and all streaming platforms.
“Connor was such a friendly guy and the kindest, purest of gentlemen,” said the 24-year-old.
“He was a good friend of the band and I know he would have loved us to support an amazing charity like EACH.
“He would have whole-heartedly encouraged us and given his blessing, as his mum has. Hopefully we can raise as much as possible.
“What happened to him still doesn’t make sense and it’s been a very difficult time."
The band plans to publish the artwork for the single in mid-November.
Members will then release details of their online fundraising page, with a view to presenting a cheque to EACH just before Christmas.
He said: “What we’re doing with this single has been driven purely through love, the love that we all have for him and the love he has for us.
“As a band, we’re merely a vehicle to push a major charity drive on our friend's behalf. He inspired this, in its entirety.
“Obviously the nature of the song is subjectively linked to themes of bereavement and coming to terms with a loss.
“However, the intention of the song is to offer some kind of perspective and positivity too - hence the chorus ‘you drench me in happiness’."
Alongside Mr Rob's bandmates Ed Brookes, singer, Fred Clements, guitarist and saxophonist, Adam Smith, drummer, and Kain McBarron, bassist, Red Wine Talks has also recruited violinist Helen Goodall to help with the song.
The Deep Blue Sea Between Us will be available on iTunes to purchase. Alternatively, you can donate via Red Wine Talk's Just Giving page.
If you or anyone you know is struggling, then please call the Samaritans for free on 116 123.