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Tributes paid to Costessey gardener

Mark Hoffman

Mark Hoffman

Submitted

The heartbroken family of a "caring and loving" Costessey man, who was found hanged, paid tribute, describing him as "the life and soul of the party".

Mark Hoffman, 30, a landscape gardener from Norwich Road, was found on March 27 and later pronounced dead with his closest friend and family by his side at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

And after a coroner recorded a verdict of suicide his sister Michelle urged others to seek help: “I would say to anyone who felt the way Mark did to not be afraid to go to your doctor about it. They will listen and give you advice.”

His parents Paul, 58, and Angela Hoffman, 53, from Costessey, said they were devastated by their son’s death but that the whole family, including Mark’s sisters Michelle, 32, and Nicola Hoffman, 23, were supporting each other.

Mark’s lungs, kidneys and heart valves were donated to help others and £319 has been raised for the Keeping Abreast cancer charity and £294 for mental health charity MIND.

“We are glad Mark has helped others through his death,” said Mrs Hoffman.

Paul said: “He wasn’t just my son but he was my best friend as well. We worked together, played football together and even went our together.

“All our friends have been fantastic and we are taking it one day at a time and supporting each other as a family.”

Angela added: “He was so sociable and considerate. He always took pride in his work and the highlight of his year was working at the garden show at the Norwich showground with his dad.”

As well as his work Mark’s passions were football and socialising. He was well-known among the Norwich nightlife and Chicago Rock Cafe on Prince of Wales Road in the city centre was dubbed his ‘second home’ by his closest friends.

Friends Vicky Smith, 26, and former housemate, Allan Wright, 31, said the holiday they took to Turkey with Mark last year will be one of their greatest memories.

Miss Smith said: “He was generous, caring, charming, welcoming and above all, the life and soul of every party. We will take Mark with us in life and we promise to keep him in our hearts forever.”

Mr Wright added: “We are all saddened at the loss of such an amazing friend.”

Almost 400 people attended Mark’s funeral at the Colney Woodland Burial Park on Watton Road and everyone wore an item of red in tribute to the football team Mark supported - Manchester United. The theme tune from his favourite television series ‘Friends’ was also played.

Team mates from the Dyers Arms, the local football team for whom Mark played, have also taken Mark’s number three shirt out of the team kit and have had it signed by the team, family and friends to have it framed and put on display in the pub.

Angela said: “We would like to thank everyone who has helped us through this.”

An inquest heard that on March 27, Mark had talked to Mr Wright, who had been living with him since February 2010, about some problems resulting from a previous relationship including financial issues and matters surrounding a house. He was alerted at 10.22pm by a text message from Mark’s current girlfriend, Michelle Filby, urging him to check on Mark.

Mr Wright told the inquest that he saw a light on in the garden shed and when he went to investigate saw Mark hanging. He pulled him down and called 999.

Norfolk coroner William Armstrong, said: “It’s clear that Mark intended to bring his life to an end for whatever reason and I shall record a verdict of suicide.

“There’s no-one to blame for what happened to Mark. It’s a very sad and tragic situation indeed and I express my sympathies to all those affected by this tragedy.”

For advice and help about mental health issues visit MIND’s website www.mind.org.uk

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