Southend boy walks to raise money for dad's headstone

Mason Gotts sponsored walk Mason (front and centre), Lisa Gotts (far left) and supporters arrive at the halfway point in Leigh-on-Sea

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A nine-year-old Essex boy whose father killed himself has raised £1,000 for a headstone for his dad.

Ben Gotts, who was 39 and from Southend, took his own life shortly after he was released from a mental health unit in 2011.

Mason Gotts carried out a sponsored walk in his hometown with supporters.

Lisa Gotts, Mason's mother who also went on the walk, said: "I'm delighted with everyone's fundraising efforts and it's been quite emotional."

The group walked 12 miles (19 km) from The Shorehouse pub in Shoebury to The Peterboat pub in Leigh-on-Sea and back again.

Mason said: "It was quite hard and I was quite tired.

Mason Gotts with trophy Mason was given a trophy when he arrived back at The Shorehouse in Shoebury
'Laughed and cried'

"Thank you to all the people [who helped] because I couldn't have done it without you."

Lisa added: "He was absolutely amazing because there were a lot of adult supporters who flaked out on the way and got lifts back.

"The support from people along the way really, really helped him and I don't think I've ever laughed and cried so much in one day.

"We've had cards and letters from all sorts of people from different walks of life and their words are something I will treasure."

Mason has designed the headstone which will be black and inscribed with the words "Thank you for being my daddy, I love you loads".

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