Southend boy in fundraising bid for dad's gravestone
- 29 April 2013
- From the section Essex
A nine-year-old boy whose father killed himself is trying to raise £1,000 for a headstone.
Ben Gotts, of Southend, took his own life shortly after he was released from a mental health unit in 2011.
Mason Gotts only recently felt able to visit the grave, which is marked by a small plastic sign. He is now planning a 12-mile fundraising walk.
He said: "All the other people have a headstone and my dad doesn't. That makes me sad."
He said he wants to raise money for "a big black headstone" with an inscription which says: "Thank you for being my daddy, I love you loads".
'Been through so much'
Mason's mother Lisa said Mr Gotts' severe depression had left him a "shell" of his former self.
She told how Mr Gotts and Mason had an "amazing bond" - a fact which left many in the family stunned that Mr Gotts had killed himself.
Describing the impact of the death on her son, she said: "He said he heard and that he knew his father had passed away when the police knocked at the door and apparently he heard me screaming.
"But he's only just started to feel able to visit the grave.
"He's getting somewhere now. He's been through so much for such a young little boy."
Mason will walk the 12-mile route from the beach in Shoebury to Chalkwell and back again on what would have been his father's 41st birthday in May. He hopes to raise £1,000.