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Norfolk mum Carolyn Sayer bereaved by son’s suicide hails benefits of new support group Empathy

PUBLISHED: 08:48 01 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:41 01 November 2017

John Sayer who died last year.

John Sayer who died last year.

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Some 18 months ago Carolyn Sayer’s apparently happy and successful son decided there was so much wrong with his life that he wanted to end it.

Carolyn Sayer's son killed himself last year. She wants to highlight a new group - A small group of people, who have all experienced suicide loss in their lives are trying to reach out and help.

Picture: Nick Butcher Carolyn Sayer's son killed himself last year. She wants to highlight a new group - A small group of people, who have all experienced suicide loss in their lives are trying to reach out and help. Picture: Nick Butcher

The alarm was raised in Norfolk by his girlfriend in Leighton Buzzard worried because he hadn’t met up with friends as arranged.

His body was found later that evening by a colleague at the gate-making site he owned.

For John Sayer’s family it was a day that changed their lives forever, the tragedy blowing everything off course into darker, troubled waters.

At home in Catfield, Mrs Sayer and husband John struggled to find help and understanding.

Carolyn Sayer's son killed himself last year. She wants to highlight a new group - A small group of people, who have all experienced suicide loss in their lives are trying to reach out and help.

Picture: Nick Butcher Carolyn Sayer's son killed himself last year. She wants to highlight a new group - A small group of people, who have all experienced suicide loss in their lives are trying to reach out and help. Picture: Nick Butcher

Mrs Sayer became involved in the Norwich branch of Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide group and has hailed the comfort and support of its members.

However, now the organiser has moved on she is keen to set up a new group with some of the people she met there who want to carry on.

MORE: New group set up for those left behind after suicide

Helped by her daughter Zoe they and others have set up Empathy Suicide Bereavement Support, specifically for people who are suffering bereavement through suicide.

Mrs Sayer, 71, said there was still a stigma attached to suicide and that it was a different kind of heartbreak that only those who had experienced it could understand.

Going over “if only” scenarios and constantly replaying his imagined last minutes were daily trials.

But talking to people in the same situation and learning to think about it in new ways was helpful, she added.

MORE: Suicide survivors: The untold stories of loved ones left behind

John, a father of two, was 45 when he took his own life.

An accomplished club runner he had many friends and a successful gate-making business set up by his father in 1984.

And although he struggled with stress and worked far too hard, there was nothing to indicate he was dangerously ill.

He enjoyed raising money for charity and had previously run a sub 3.5 hour marathon for MIND, his cropped hair dyed a striking blue that saw him come to prominence during the TV coverage.

Sharing her darkest thoughts had been “a relief” Mrs Sayer said, adding: “We hope we can help others by letting them know they are not on their own.”

Anyone looking for support, or more information, can call 07876 496711 or email empathynorfolk@gmail.com.

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