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'I want Jess to be proud of me' - Mother of student who took his own life to make film about final days with her son

PUBLISHED: 11:56 27 July 2019 | UPDATED: 12:40 27 July 2019

Beverley Bishop with her son Jess Fairweather on Cromer beach, where they had summer barbeques. Photo: Beverley Bishop

Beverley Bishop with her son Jess Fairweather on Cromer beach, where they had summer barbeques. Photo: Beverley Bishop

Beverley Bishop

The mother of a north Norfolk student who took his own life plans to make a film documenting her last days with her son as he lay in a funeral home.

Beverley Bishop with her son Jess Fairweather on a trip to London to see Chicago. Photo: Beverley BishopBeverley Bishop with her son Jess Fairweather on a trip to London to see Chicago. Photo: Beverley Bishop

Jess Fairweather, 20, was found hanging in his flat in Kett House at the University of East Anglia (UEA) on October 11, last year.

The law student had suffered with depression since 2014, and his mother Beverley Bishop said she wanted to make the film to make her son proud.

Mrs Bishop, 50, and from Cromer, said: "It's set in the funeral home where Jess was and it's based on the conversations I had with him."

The mother-of-two said she visited Murrell Cork Funerals in North Walsham every day in the run up to Mr Fairweather's funeral on October 31 - the day he would have turned 21.

Jess Fairweather, left, with his brother Sam, on Cromer Pier. Picture: COURTESY OF SAM FAIRWEATHERJess Fairweather, left, with his brother Sam, on Cromer Pier. Picture: COURTESY OF SAM FAIRWEATHER

She would speak with him until she had nothing left to say.

"I believe it's that that got me to the funeral," she said. "The thought of having to organise a funeral for my own son, I didn't think I could do it.

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"I sat and held his hand and talked to him until I ran out of words. It was a process of accepting he had died because he was there in front of me."

At the funeral service for Jess Fairweather, which took place at Bluebell Wood in Hainford on what would have been his 21st birthday. Picture: STUART ANDERSONAt the funeral service for Jess Fairweather, which took place at Bluebell Wood in Hainford on what would have been his 21st birthday. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

Mrs Bishop said her son had not liked it when she cried, so she had promised him she would not do so at the funeral home or at the funeral.

"But it was out of his hands after that," she said. Mrs Bishop also told Mr Fairweather about the plans for the funeral "because he liked to be in control of things".

She added: "And I spoke about the fact I would have preferred it if he stayed with me."

Mrs Bishop has enlisted the help of Esmee Walker - a childhood friend of Mr Fairweather - and Jak Quartermaine to make the film. And she said it was about awareness as well as speaking about grief and death.

"There are things we don't talk about, I don't think we talk about death," she said. "It's also a testament to Jess, a lasting testament."

She added: "And also I think another driving force is I want Jess to be proud of me. I want him to think 'go on mum', I think that's what's really driving me."

Filming is set to begin in around two weeks and a premiere will be held at Norwich Puppet Theatre on October 11 - a year after Mr Fairweather's death.

To donate towards the production of the film visit www.gofundme.com/f/a-film-for-jess

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