'It's time to talk' - foundation set up in memory of loved Lee, 37

8:56 Foundation founder members, back (from left) Ian Prentice, Matt Oakes and Mark Bromfield. Front

8:56 Foundation founder members, back (from left) Ian Prentice, Matt Oakes and Mark Bromfield. Front (from left) Annabel Park, Sarah Bromfield, Natasha Colman and Jodie Calton. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A foundation to raise awareness of men's mental health issues is being set up in memory of a popular businessman and football fan.

Financial advisor Lee Calton, 37, was pronounced dead at his address in King's Lynn on April 15.

Lee Calton

Lee Calton, pictured running the London Marathon for the Motor Neurone Disease Association - Credit: Picture supplied by the Calton family

An inquest into his death heard how he had become depressed and worried over the impact that lockdown was having on his businesses. The coroner concluded that his death was suicide.

Mr Calton was a lifelong King's Lynn Town fan and a regular at both home and away games. The club said he was "very well known, very well liked and very well respected" at The Walks.

Buildings across Lynn were lit up in the team's blue and gold colours in his memory, while his funeral saw what his family described as "an outpouring of love" as mourners gathered outside The Swan Inn at South Wootton to pay their respects.

Lee Calton's funeral procession stopped outside The Swan Inn in South Wootton, for mourners to pay t

Lee Calton's funeral procession stopped outside The Swan Inn in South Wootton, for mourners to pay their respects. - Credit: Ian Burt

Npw family and friends are setting up the 8:56 Foundation, under the banner "It's Time to Talk". 

Mr Calton and his friends would catch the 8.56am train out of King’s Lynn station on a Saturday morning to follow the Linnets.

"These days were filled with laughter, banter, friendship, lots of beer and not forgetting the football," the foundation's founders say.

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"8:56 represents something Lee held in such high regard. Happy times, fond memories and a group of friends that were always there for each other.

8:56 Foundation founder members, back (from left) Ian Prentice, Matt Oakes and Mark Bromfield. Front

8:56 Foundation founder members, back (from left) Ian Prentice, Matt Oakes and Mark Bromfield. Front (from left) Annabel Park, Jodie Calton, Natasha Colman and Sarah Bromfield. - Credit: Ian Burt

"Not everyone has something terrible happening in their life - some people just like Lee are successful, loved and financially secure.

"By setting up the 8:56 Foundation we aim to raise awareness, increase the profile of support and reduce the stigma associated with mental health.

"By using sport as an aid we want to encourage men to talk and reduce the risk of loneliness and isolation. Everyone needs to know 'it’s time to talk' and it’s ok not to be ok."

In front of the King's Lynn Town Hall, candles were lit in memory of Lee Calton. Picture: Ian Burt

In front of the King's Lynn Town Hall, candles were lit in memory of Lee Calton. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Mr Calton's brother-in-law Mark Bromfield said: "When we were younger and we used to go away to watch King's Lynn play, we use to get the 8:56 from Lynn, so we got the nickname of the 8:56 On Tour.

"The aim is to help men with their mental health. Because of what happened to our family, we want to help anyone going through the same thing.

"We want to create support and help for anyone who needs it. The likes of Lee show no signs, no previous history - they're the hardest people to help."

Mr Calton never told even his closest friends what he was going through. The foundation's T-shirts say simply: 'It's time to talk'.

Danny Suckling lights a candle, in memory of Lee Calton. Picture: Ian Burt

Danny Suckling lights a candle, in memory of Lee Calton. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

"Me and Lee were friends for a long time, we did loads of things together," said Mr Bromfield, a 36-year-old telecoms engineer from Lynn.

"We played football, we played golf, we socialised quite a bit. If you ever spoke to him, he was always just like 'I'm fine'.

"That's one of the things we want to change, that stigma, that mentality of people."

The foundation will be working in partnership with the King's Lynn Soccer Club, which runs men's, women's and youth teams.

Players will train in 8:56 tops sponsored by The Studio Hair Company, Discount Tyres and Double G. The hair company said it was "honoured and privileged" to support it.

Family & friends gathered on the Saturday Market Place in King's Lynn, to pay their respects to Lee

Family & friends gathered on the Saturday Market Place in King's Lynn, to pay their respects to Lee Calton. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

The foundation is being officially launched at the West Lynn Sports and Social Club on Friday, September 17.

There will be a barbecue, raffle, auction and disco from 6pm.

Supporters Grace Jones and Hayley Footer will be running the Norfolk Coastal Half Marathon from Burnham Overy Staithe to Morston Quay on Saturday, September 25.

Donations can be made via https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/hayleygracecoastalhalf856foundation .

More fundraising events are also in the pipeline along with merchandise and a website is being set up.


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