Family’s heartfelt tribute to Norwich City fan who will be laid to rest in yellow and green coffin
- Credit: Archant
'Let's help others avoid the hell we've been through' - That's the message from the family of a Norfolk man who took his own life aged just 28.
It was barely a week ago that Rosie Hall, 55, of Briston, near Holt, was told something every parent dreads - the death of a child.
James Hall, who grew up in the north Norfolk village, was living in Yorkshire when he died. A huge Norwich City fan, Mr Hall will be laid to rest in a yellow and green coffin.
Mrs Hall said of the loss of her son: "It came to us as a complete shock. I was here on my own, I got a knock at the door, the police were there and said they had some bad news. It's every parent's nightmare."
Mrs Hall, James's father Terry Hall, 58, and his sister Emma Nichols, 31, have now launched a fundraising campaign for the mental health charity Mind in James's memory, which has already raised more than £3,800.
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Mrs Hall said: "It helps us to know that James was loved and thought of so greatly.
"As a family we feel that if James had been able to reach out and talk to somebody he would have been able to get help, and we wouldn't be where we are today."
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Mrs Nichols said: "If we can help just one other person like James, and stop another family going through the hell we've been through, it will be worth it."
Mrs Hall said James was a kind and loving son who had a passion for the Beatles, old-style Rover Minis, and, above all, Norwich City.
Mrs Hall said: "They were at the helm of his life. He had a season ticket and used to drive down from Yorkshire every other weekend to watch the home games.
"He met [Norwich City owner] Delia Smith at a meeting of the northern Canaries, she even bought him a pint of beer."
James attended Astley Primary School and Reepham High School before going onto Fakenham College for his A-Levels.
He then did a four-year degree in forensic anthropology at the University of Dundee.
Mr Hall said: "He was academic at school and he had a big interest in science. But when he finished his degree he moved back home because he had a girlfriend he wanted to start work and make some money."
James took a job as a waiter at the Blakeney Hotel, and later became a porter.
Mrs Hall said: "They didn't want him to leave but he got a job at [occupational health provider] Wrightway Health in Norwich."
James started there as a receptionist before advancing, and around four years ago he transferred to the firm's north Yorkshire branch, and moved to a village called Drax.
Mr Hall said: "He became a manager and just before Christmas he was promoted to senior manager. He loved his job and he loved his staff."
But Mr Hall said James must have suffered from an inner turmoil he kept concealed.
He said: "We had no idea whatsoever that James was in a dark place. He came home quite regularly for meetings for work, and he never gave us any inkling that he had problems.
It seemed he had always put on a front.
"Everything was rosy as far as we were concerned, but obviously it wasn't."
Mr Hall said nothing could cure the family's heartache.
He said: "It's such a waste of such a good person. He had so much more left to give. Now we just want to do what we can."
Mrs Nichols said she was amazed by how much support their appeal for Mind had been shown.
She said: "It has already exceeded my expectations. I'm overwhelmed by the generosity of people."
Mrs Hall said James's former employers at Wrightway, as well as his friends, had given the family a lot of support.
James's funeral will be on Friday, March 6, at 3pm at Cromer Crematorium.
Donations can be made to the fundraiser in James's memory at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jamesdavidhall28
Mrs Hall said: "Please give generously in our beautiful son, brother and grandson's memory. This charity is so important." -Need to talk? The Samaritans can be contacted 24/7 by calling 116 123 or be emailing email@example.com
Open Up at Open
Open Up at Open will take place at Open in Bank Plain, Norwich, on Friday, March 6 from 8.30am to 6pm.
The day will begin at 9am with a BBC Radio Norfolk breakfast debate, which will be broadcast live from the venue.
Among the panellists will be Sir Norman Lamb, who will also be discussing his mental health grass roots fund in a Q&A with David Powles, editor of the EDP and Evening News, at 10.15am.
From 11.30am to 1.30pm there will be a series of short talks from people who will be sharing personal experiences on the topic of mental health.
Actor Joe Tracini will be the first to speak, followed by former police officer Steve Hunt, blogger Carly Rowena, Darren Eadie and Craig Hill.
At 1.30pm there will be a panel discussion on children's wellbeing, followed by talks on tackling loneliness at 3pm and mental health in the workplace at 4pm.
The day will come to a close at 5pm with a mindfulness and yoga session.
A number of mental health charities and organisation will also be at the event with information about their work and specialisms.