‘Matthew was a good, hard-working lad’ - Mother pays tribute to son who took his own life

Photo: Bill Smith Photo: Bill Smith

David Bale david.bale2@archant.co.uk
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
8:49 AM

A mother has spoken for the first time about the death of her son who took his own life at a Norwich shopping centre nearly a year ago.

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Donna Ramsey, 44, was too distraught to talk about the death of her son Matthew Dunham after he fell to his death at Castle Mall on May 9 last year.

But nearly a year after the tragedy she has decided to pay tribute to the 25-year-old, who was battling depression.

She said: “I think you get a stereotype of someone who does what Matthew did, but depression can affect anybody, whatever their age or background. It has opened my eyes to that. I just want people to know that Matthew was a good, hard-working lad, who was sadly battling a vicious war with depression.”

She said she had not visited Castle Mall shopping centre since the tragedy. But the pain was brought back when another man fell to his death from the centre in March, which she said was another “awful tragedy”.

Castle Mall has since put up temporary hoardings on the upper levels of the shopping centre.

Mrs Ramsey, from Spixworth, said her family, including husband Ian Ramsey, who brought up Mr Dunham following her split from his biological father, Christopher Snowling, and their children Jack, 17, and Rebecca, 15, would pay their respects on the first anniversary of his death, at a memorial garden at St Faith’s crematorium.

Mr Dunham grew up in Spixworth and attended Sprowston High School. He found his perfect job as a junior web developer. He eventually ran a blogging and forums site which had 50,000 members and more than one million visitors a month. She said her son fought a war with depression alone, before seeking the appropriate professional medical help.

She added: “Matthew hid his illness from his family but was under the support of the mental health service during his final weeks. We are still wondering why, but we are not and never will be forgetting.”

As reported, at Mr Dunham’s inquest last September, the then Norfolk coroner William Armstrong criticised the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust for “fundamental deficiencies” in the way it treated Mr Dunham.

Andrew Hopkins, acting chief executive at the trust, said yesterday: “We are determined that all lessons learned will continue to be embedded into our work and, since Mr Dunham’s death, the trust conducted a full investigation into what happened and has reviewed the areas of policy and practice raised at the inquest.”

Mr Dunham had jumped from the fifth floor of the shopping centre landing on the ground floor level, and died at the scene.

Mrs Ramsey, who works as a volunteer for the Riding for the Disabled Association, did not wish to comment about the mental health trust.

If you have feelings of anxiety and need help, contact the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90

Would you like to pay tribute to a loved one? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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