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'Every day I still break down' - nightclub owner's mother opens up one year after his death

PUBLISHED: 08:33 11 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:07 11 September 2019

Ibish Peri with his mum, Dawn. Photo: Rich Smee

Ibish Peri with his mum, Dawn. Photo: Rich Smee

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His death gave rise to an outpouring of support in Norwich, and saw hundreds pay tearful tributes at a candlelit vigil.

Ibish Peri with his nephew. Photo: Rich SmeeIbish Peri with his nephew. Photo: Rich Smee

But, now, one year on, it is Ibish Peri's close friends and family who are still adjusting to a new chapter without him.

Mr Peri died last year at his Prince of Wales Road flat, near the nightclub and bars he spent his adult life working in and, later, running, aged just 35. An inquest later ruled he died by suicide.

Today, his mother Dawn has opened up about an unimaginably difficult year, and vowed to use her loss to raise awareness of mental health problems, and the silence that can surround them.

She hopes to, one day, set up a foundation in her son's name, and tour schools and colleges to both share her experience and encourage those in need to open up.

Hundreds of people attended the candlelit vigil in memory of Norwich nightclub owner Ibish Peri.Hundreds of people attended the candlelit vigil in memory of Norwich nightclub owner Ibish Peri.

MORE: Hundreds attend emotional candlelit vigil in memory of Norwich nightclub owner Ibish Peri

Mrs Peri said the last 12 months had been a blur, but that it felt as though no time had passed.

Hundreds of people attended the candlelit vigil in memory of Norwich nightclub owner Ibish Peri.Hundreds of people attended the candlelit vigil in memory of Norwich nightclub owner Ibish Peri.

"Every day I still break down," she said. "Every day. I still visit his resting place, and talk to him every day. I'm still so angry and there are so many unanswered questions.

"Everything we do, day in day out, it's for Ibish. When we cook a meal we will say 'this was your favourite, this is what you would have wanted on a Sunday'. Little silly things like that."

Mr Peri was one of 465 men who took their own lives in 2018, according to new Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, an increase on 2017's 346.

Tuesday marked World Suicide Prevention Day, and Norfolk County Council's public health is dedicating this month to working with bodies to promote support for people at risk of suicide, particularly men.

Messages and floral tributes to nightclub owner, Ibish Peri at Bished. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMessages and floral tributes to nightclub owner, Ibish Peri at Bished. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Dr Louise Smith, director of the council's public health, said suicides around the UK had increased, and that "one suicide is one too many", adding that suicide prevention was a priority for the council.

But Mrs Peri said she had concerns over the lack of support available for people in a time of crisis, and that she was determined to make sure her son's death had a purpose.

MORE: Tributes to nightclub director found dead in city

"Raising awareness is still at the forefront of my mind, I don't stop thinking about it and I keep making notes," she said.

"I need people to help me make slideshows of Ibish, before, of the funeral, of the vigil. That's what I want to take with me when I go to schools or colleges, I want to be able to show the stages of severe depression.

"People will think how can he be so sad, he's smiling, he's having fun, he's got everything he wants. But it's a mask - that's what people have got to understand.

"You can look like the happiest person in the world, you can have everything you want, but it doesn't matter. There are people like it everywhere."

She said bodies urgently needed to "step up" to save others' lives, and, along with the foundation, said she hopes to erect a memorial in Mr Peri's honour in Norwich.

But having already been paragliding with her grandson in memory of Mr Peri - and with plans to complete a parachute jump next - her son's memory is always close.

"His smile, that stupid laugh, that's what I think of," she said. "When he did something and he knew he had got someone, in a prank or something, the little snigger he used to do.

"I think of that and his smile every morning. I get up and go and kiss his photograph. He was my number one, he is now and he always will be."

If you need someone to talk to you can call Samaritans for free at any time, 24 hours a day and from any phone, on 116 123.

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