Father who struggled after son’s suicide vows to help other bereaved parents

A Barnstaple dad who struggled with his own emotions following the suicide of his son is now helping to support other bereaved parents.

Paul Stevens, 48, said he spent many months ‘on auto-pilot’ after his son Daniel took his own life, aged 22, in August 2012.

The gunsmith returned to work the day after police knocked on the door to deliver the devastating news, but struggled to come to terms with his grief.

“It was something we thought would never happen until it did,” he said.

“I felt guilt and anger, but the grief didn’t really get me until later on. I went into auto-pilot, but one day I just sat in my workshop and cried.

“It’s a horrendous pain; when I lost my dad to cancer there was almost relief for him, but the pain of suicide can get you every day – it’s a feeling in the pit of your stomach.

“I wasn’t sleeping for several months and when I eventually went to see the doctor I burst into tears.”

Four years later, he is helping to raise money for a new suicide bereavement group run by Barnstaple-based mental health charity Clarity.

Paul and family are organising a ‘celebration walk’ in Daniel’s memory, from Instow to Barnstaple Rugby Club on July 9.

More than 50 people have already signed up to take part in the Daniel Stevens Three Little Birds Walk, which will culminate with a celebration at the rugby club with a raffle, music, bouncy castles and face painting, as well as a bar, ice cream, hog roast and food from Monty’s Caribbean Kitchen, Phansit’s Kitchen, Tree Farm Sausages and Cracking Nuts.

Paul said: “Our focus is to raise awareness for Clarity in Dan’s memory. We want him to be remembered for something positive.”

To download a registration form click here or call Clarity on 01271 264474. For more information about Clarity visit www.claritynorthdevon.org.uk

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