“Believe us, if this can happen to our children, it can happen to anybody’s.”
Just a £5 fix of heroin killed Luke at 19, six years after he’d changed his friends and character almost overnight. Unbeknown then to mum Susan, that is when he began taking cannabis which led to harder drugs. Until then, he was quiet, polite and popular. He loved playing Monopoly with his Mum and had a talent for art and sport.
“Mum, don’t be cross with me,” pleaded Marcus minutes before taking a fatal heroin overdose, aged 22. Until weeks before his death, he’d been clean for a whole year, working hard and enjoying family life. Up to being 13 – when he was introduced to cannabis – he loved swimming, cycling and skiing and talked about becoming a lawyer.
“Drugs in all forms are extremely DANGEROUS. Will turn you into a freak,” Matthew wrote as he battled to beat his addiction. His heartbreaking warning was recorded in a notebook found by mum Lesley after his death from heroin, aged 20. Brought up in the country, he loved art, mountain biking and achieved ten high grade GCSEs.
Heather Newton likes to remember her son Roger for his “very infectious and unique laugh.” Roger, who died on February 1, 2008, aged 29, enjoyed cycling and the outdoors. “I miss him a lot and I think he could have turned his life round had he lived,” says Heather.
Bullied by other boys, Lee Marles began smoking cannabis aged 16 in an attempt to “fit in” with them, according to his mum Margaret. Describing her only son as a “lovely, very sensitive and caring boy”, she recalls how he always enjoyed telling an amusing story about the time they went fishing together. “He was only 12 and he dropped all his tackle in the river at Stamford Bridge. I jumped in and nearly got swept away!” she recalls. Lee died, aged 29, in July 2006 after a long battle with drugs.
As a young girl, Ann Colley’s daughter Sarah would “help and look after anybody she could” according to her Mum. A Brownie and Girl Guide, she played the cornet for the Christian Mission. “I don’t think Sarah would have hurt me or any other family member intentionally. She took the wrong path and lived in torment every day. When I think of my lovely daughter, I just think Why?” After a ten year battle with drugs, Sarah died, aged 31, on February 17, 2006.
Family holidays abroad long before her “sunny natured” son Sam died of a heroin overdose are some of Christine Hatton’s happiest memories. Sam even moved to Tenerife in his late teens for several months to try and beat his addiction. “He tried his best,” says Christine, recalling how he underwent numerous detox programmes to get clean. Sadly, two days before he was due to go back into rehab, he died of a heroin overdose, aged 28. Sam’s drug problem started with cannabis at 13 and by 15 he was using heroin. Now a senior staff nurse in a substance misuse unit, Christine constantly sees other boys fighting the same battle.
Their memories are precious and we will do anything and everything we can to spare others the anguish they suffered.