It's not that long ago that my dear friend, Chris Scott was sitting on my sofa, swamped by my dogs who adored him, his paperwork strewn over my table as we worked so hard together, trying to improve the quality of his life while completing his mandatory renewal for ESA. And now, having been almost all of my life while he stayed here (til Saturday 4th August), he is gone. I and my youngest children, his children, Sabrina (23) and Ben (22), are broken hearted and our world has been truly devastated. Chris touched the lives of so many, having worked in multi-drop delivery driving, door security work (SIA), working with long-term unemployed people to help improve their situations and as a talented model-maker, he came to know many different groups of people. His brilliant sense of humour and sometimes more than graphic but grammatically correct turn of phrase will be remembered by all who knew him and those that encountered it will fondly remember his interpretation of the Gopher dance from the Caddyshack song 'I'm alright (nobody worry 'bout me'). I'm sure you all have wonderful memories of him too if you were lucky enough to have met him.
Since the death of his best friend/brother from another mother, Dan Lee, on 31/08/2016, Chris never stopped grieving and though I know he cherished all his friendships, and he absolutely adored his children, the loss of his buddy who saw him every weekend, and the upcoming second anniversary of his passing, weighed on him heavily. For years Chris was rendered disabled through no fault of his own, and that didn't do this naturally active man any good at all. Between that and other issues he was left unable to work and forced to claim benefits. As a proud man, it caused him so much pain to go through everything in the detail required to illustrate that he was a man who was in need of and fully deserved the help to which he was entitled. In the end the process was too much for him and he decided to go home and take a break from it. Two days later, having completed the forms for him, I went over on Monday 6th August 2018, around 6-7pm and that's when I found him, having taken his own life, finally free from all physical pain and the mental torture caused by a benefit system that has been designed to cause as much distress as possible to claimants. I feel awful; if I'd gone over sooner instead of worrying about the paperwork could I have saved him? Or would it just have been postponing something he was going to do at some point? I will live with that and the image of him as I found him that evening for the rest of my life.
Every day it hits home harder and we've had to give the worst possible news to so many lovely people and there are still some we can't reach because his phone is still with Police. So his children and I faced arranging a funeral, a wake and the clearance of his flat all while trying to come to terms with knowing we will never have him to chat with or hug ever again and he did give the best hugs.
Being practical is essential right now and none of us are well off, so we are asking for help to raise enough money for Chris's funeral and a modest gathering for family and close friends. Any donations go into a spare account of mine and will only be used for the stated purposes. Anything left over will be donated to a charity called CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), which is aimed at preventing male suicide; I'm sure Chris would have helped anyone else if he could have.
This is not a position we ever imagined being in and this request is very hard for us to make; we would rather have been able to take care of him without help if we could have. But we know he would not want us, especially his children who are just starting out in their adult lives, to be thrown into debt for him.
Chris’s funeral, which was a lovely send off, was on 14/09/2018 and since then we’ve had a real chance to begin processing the shock, the loss and the wild variety of feelings that we’re all experiencing. Amongst all that is a residual concern about the remaining balance for the funeral, as you can no doubt imagine. So if anyone else could possibly donate, it would be very gratefully received. I know with Christmas coming up everyone has enough expense to think about but the timing was not of my doing and I’m trying to grasp a shred of optimism in the face of the incredible generosity we’ve been shown so far. I’ve been through my birthday without a hug from him and Sabrina and Ben both face that before Christmas too, can you help to make it easier for them?
We want to say that we appreciate any help that you have been or are able to give but please, if giving to us would leave you short of money or in difficulty yourselves, please don't do it, no matter how much you would love to show your respect for Chris in this way. He wouldn't want anyone to suffer hardship for him and nor do we.
Many thanks for reading this far and for all the love and support we have received. The way you have all responded to this terrible news has brought so much warmth to this chilling time, we are truly grateful for each and every one of you. Please don’t be strangers.
Toni , Sabrina & Ben
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