Broadcasters pay tribute to son Nick

Well-known broadcasters Libby Purves and Paul Heiney have paid tribute to their son who was found dead at the family's Suffolk home on Monday. In an obituary, that appeared in The Times newspaper, the couple described their son Nicholas's “gentleness and fineness of mind”.

Well-known broadcasters Libby Purves and Paul Heiney have paid tribute to their son who was found dead at the family's Suffolk home on Monday.

In an obituary, that appeared in The Times newspaper, the couple described their son Nicholas's “gentleness and fineness of mind”.

Ms Purves, Mr Heiney and their daughter Rose, said Nicholas, 23, had suffered a serious depressive illness for some time and was under medical treatment.

“Our son Nick Heiney died in the early hours of June 26, at home and by his own hand,” the obituary said.

“Outside close family most did not know the gravity of his problems because he faced them with courage and humour, preferring to retire from company, rather than, in his view, blight it. He had no need.”

Nicholas graduated from St Catherine's College, Oxford, where he studied English, last year.

Most Read

“He loved the classic Oxford English course and his tutors, particularly the late Michael Gearin-Tosh and Professor Duncan Wu, who will speak at his funeral,” the obituary said.

“His first ambition was to teach at university level, but postgraduate life came to seem pointless and he wrote much of the world he was in.

“He said literature is best written about by people with experience of a wider world and was exploring other work.”

The family, who live at Westleton, near Yoxford, said Nick had crossed the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as a deckhand on a Dutch ship when he was 19 and helped to train young Koreans in seamanship.

Nicholas was also considering work in a caring profession and training as a psychotherapist.

“From childhood, Nicholas never found life easy, but he lived it with courage, humour and dignity in spite of diffidence and the depressive illness, which in the end violently overcame him,” the obituary said. “He will not be forgotten.

“Tributes to his gentleness and fineness of mind pour in.”

Nicholas Heiney's funeral takes place at St Peter's Church, Westleton, at 10.45am on Monday .

Ms Purves is a presenter of the BBC Radio 4 Midweek programme and her husband found fame in Esther Rantzen's That's Life television programme.