Childhood friends of an ‘intelligent and funny’ man who was the ‘light of every room’ are remembering him more than a year after he tragically took his own life on New Year’s Eve. Jack Hart, who was originally from Stockport but later moved to Crewe with his family de el, died on December 31 2020 aged just 21, after struggling with his mental health and the lockdown restrictions.
Now, 16 months on, his close friends are gearing up to jump out of a plane to raise money for a charity that helps support young people who are facing similar struggles. Jack had been found dead suddenly at his home after the family had enjoyed ‘the best Christmas in a long time’ together.
Earlier this year, parents Rachael and Nigel installed a memorial bench in Crewe’s Queens Park, which includes laser-crafted wooden pictures of their son. Paying tribute to Jack shortly after his death, Cheshire Live reported that mum Rachael had described him as a ‘caring, funny, intelligent’ son who was ‘loved by everyone’ and had an ‘off-the-scale intellect’.
READ MOREDad to take on mammoth 1,600 mile cycle mission to Spain in honor of publican mum
talking to the Manchester Evening News ahead of their fundraising efforts, best friend Kerys Holding, 22, said he was the ‘glue’ of their friendship group who was always trying to ‘get everyone together’. However, after leaving South Cheshire College, where the large group of friends studied, the group slowly drifted apart.
Kerys said: “Me and Jack first met when we were 16 years old and there was an instant connection. All of our friendship group were unbelievably close and we all just had the best time when we were together.
“Jack was absolutely the life and soul of the group and just the funniest person. He was the glue to all our friends being together and always cheered people up and made light of every situation, and that was why we all loved him.”
samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. Call 116 123 for free or email [email protected]
CALM has a helpline (0800 58 58 58) is for men who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. They’re open 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year.
SANE line. If you’re experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day).
drink line, a free, confidential helpline for people who are concerned about their drinking, or someone else’s. Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am–8pm, weekends 11am–4pm)
Alcoholics Anonymouswhose helpline is open 24/7 on 0800 9177 650. If you would prefer, you can also email them at [email protected] or live chat via their website at www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk.
Al Anon offers support and understanding to families and friends of dependent drinkers. You can call their confidential helpline on 0800 0086 811 (open 10am-10pm).
It was on New Year’s Day morning, in 2021, that Kerys got the call telling her the devastating news that her best friend had gone. Following a year of ‘harbouring guilt, sadness and grief’, friends Kerys Holding and Kirsty Edwards spent the anniversary of Jack’s death deciding they wanted to do something positive to remember him by.
She said that Jack, who previously worked at Cafe Nero, had continued in his struggles when all hospitality business were forced to close during lockdown.
“When we all left college, life just got in the way and we went our separate ways. I stayed in touch with Jack, but most of us went to university or got full time jobs further away and he stayed in Crewe,” she added .
“We were all absolutely heartbroken when he died, and definitely felt guilty for not spending as much time with him as we’d have liked. I harbored a lot of guilt about that, but he was unhappy for a number of years and lockdown made it a lot worse for him.
“He was a very social person – the most introverted extrovert ever, but he just loved people. We had all spent the year just struggling with the grief, then on the anniversary of his death, me and Kirsty decided we wanted to do something positive that could make a difference.
“We knew we wanted to do something in his name. He had a huge heart and would be really supportive of us raising money for a charity that helps people with the same struggles he had. We all miss him dearly, and in his honor we decided to complete a skydive to raise some money for an amazing charity, in the hopes to help others who feel the way Jack felt.”
The two pals will be jumping from a plane in Shropshire on May 28, with all proceeds raised going towards Young Minds UK. You can donate here.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.