A MUM who tragically lost both of her sons in the space of five weeks has thrown her weight behind a charity’s bid to get national recognition.
Eileen Godfrey lost her eldest son Lee in July last year.
Lee, a former student at English Martyrs School, was just 41 when he died suddenly having suffered from mental health issues.
But the 64-year-old was faced with more tragedy just five weeks later when her other son, Ryan, took his own life after struggling to come to terms with the death of his brother.
Ryan, who also went to English Martyrs and then worked at Stadium Electronics in Hartlepool, was just 37.
Eileen, who lived with her sons in Hartlepool between 1986 and 2002 before moving back to her native Chester-le-Street with them, said: “They really were like two peas in a pod, they did everything together.
“To deal with the death of one child is hard enough, but to lose two in the space of five weeks was unbearable.
“I thought my life was over. I couldn’t get to sleep, and when I did, I never wanted to wake up.”
Eileen was put in touch with the charity If U Care Share by the coroner who carried out an inquest into the death of Lee, and says volunteers at the service had turned out to be her lifeline.
She added: “Without the help of If U Care Share, I’m not sure if I could have coped.
“They were there for me, they listen, they offer advice, and they help. Everyone who is involved with them has been touched by suicide, so they understand what people are going through.”
The charity, which is based in Great Lumley near Chester-le-Street, was set up in 2005 but is now in line for national recognition having bene put forward for a Lottery award.
Operations manager Sandra Emery said: “We were set up by Shirley and Dean Smith, who lost their son Daniel O’Hare when he took his own life aged 19.
“It was a complete shock, he’d shown no signs of depression or anything like that, it was completely out of the blue.
“His younger brothers, Matthew and Ben, who were 10 and five at the time, along with their cousin Sarah, decided they didn’t want any other family to go through what they did.
“They set the ball rolling by selling wristbands, and in a year they raised £48,000.
“The charity grew from there, and we go around schools and football clubs offering advice and letting people know what they do.
“We have worked with Hartlepool United as well as the other clubs in the region, and as we are totally reliant on funding we hope to be able to get into the schools in Hartlepool and the surrounding areas in the future.
“We focus on support, intervention and prevention of suicides. There are groups which focus on bereavement, but there is nothing which is suicidal specific.
“We are a small charity, but we have a big voice.”
If U Care Share was awarded charity status in 2011, and it is now in line for a lottery award.
Eileen has urged people to vote for If U care Share by visiting the website www. ifucareshare.com, or by calling 0844 8369716 by the deadline of midnight tonight.