Family take on abseil challenge for suicide bereavement charity

Glen with stepson Michael Butler. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Glen with stepson Michael Butler. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A family left heartbroken following the death of their much-loved son and brother is preparing to complete an abseil in his memory.

Lee Thrower. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Lee Thrower. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Lee Thrower was a member of the British Army serving in the Royal Engineers in Germany when he took his own life on his 25th birthday in 2005.

His father Glen, 57, struggled for many years to cope with the loss of his son and the way he died but has been helped in recent months by the Suffolk branch of the charity Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SoBS).

On August 27, Mr Thrower, his daughter Gemma, 15, son Matthew, 29 and stepson Michael, 35, will abseil down a 400ft tower at the National Abseil Centre in Northampton in memory of Lee.

Mr Thrower, from Lowestoft, said: 'We want to celebrate Lee's life. We basically want to do something in his memory and to say that, although he died by suicide, we are not ashamed of him. We are proud of him.'

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Mr Thrower also wants to raise awareness of SoBS in the hope it will help other people in his position.

He said he had suffered depression following Lee's death and had felt like he had been stumbling around in the dark until making contact with the charity in January. He said he wished he had known about the charity sooner.

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He said: 'I just want to help them by raising funds and making people aware that they exist for people that have been in my situation.

'It is an awful grieving process. Any death is horrible but with suicide it is very complicated. There are a lot of questions and people pointing the finger at you. SoBS deal totally with grieving as a result of suicide. I just can't believe I never knew about them.'

Lee was born in Lowestoft and attended Northfield St Nicholas Primary, Denes High and Kirkley High schools. After leaving school he worked at Bernard Matthews before joining the Army.

Mr Thrower said his son had been a considerate and loving person and had been very proud of being in the Army.

He added: 'Lee loved swimming, running and going to the gym and we often went to stock car racing together. He loved to play jokes on me and often me, Lee and Matthew went to Waterlane where we used to have a good laugh. He found it very funny trying to pull my shorts down in the pool as I swam past him and to give Matt a wedge. I have not been back to Waterlane since he has gone as I can still hear his laughter and see his smile and cheeky grin.'

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