Parents host concert in memory of son Rob

Neil and Nettie Davies are organising a memorial concert at St Edmundsbury Cathedral around the anniversary of their son Rob's death, in September. The concert will raise funds for the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust charity.
Neil and Nettie Davies are organising a memorial concert at St Edmundsbury Cathedral around the anniversary of their son Rob's death, in September. The concert will raise funds for the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust charity.
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A couple struggling to come to terms with their son’s decision to take his own life are organising a memorial concert in his honour.

Last September, Neil and Nettie Davies discovered their son Robert had hanged himself in their Bury St Edmunds home.

“I was absolutely devastated,” said Mrs Davies, 66.

“It was September 25th, but it still feels like yesterday.”

‘Rob,’ a computer software test engineer and former pupil of Tollgate Primary, St James Middle and King Edward VI School, had been due to celebrate his 32nd birthday one month later.

Since his death, his parents, who also have another son, have become supporters of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust (CWMT), which aims to raise awareness of depression and works to ensure help is available to young people when they need it.

Mr Davies, 61, said: “Suicide has a cataclysmic effect on families. It’s not just the suicide, it’s the fighting in the families, the blame and the guilt. It’s now the most common cause of death among young men.”

He added: “These suicides are a worrying sign. They’re a signal. They’re telling us something and we have to listen. I don’t think we’re listening hard enough to what’s happening in societies all over the world.”

On September 7, less than three weeks from the anniversary of Rob’s death, a memorial concert will take place at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, where Rob was a chorister from the age of 10 to 13. It will start at 7.30pm.

In aid of the CWMT, the Robert Davies Memorial Concert will feature well-known organist Mark Blatchly, who used to tutor Rob, Antara, a flute and harp duo, the St Edmundsbury Male Voice Choir, which Mr Davies sings in, and the Cathedral Lay Clerks.

Kevin Crossley-Holland, a well-known poet and prize-winning children’s author who knew Rob, will introduce the programme and Sir Mark Waller, who helped found the CWMT after his son’s suicide, will speak at the event.

Tickets are available from The Apex box office in Charter Square, Bury. They cost £10 in advance and £5 for under 25s. Visit www.theapex.co.uk or call 01284 758000.

Mr and Mrs Davies have also found comfort in support group Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS), which meets fortnightly in the Hyndman Centre, Hospital Road, Bury. For more details, email sobsburysteds@hotmail.co.uk or call Suzy Clifford on 07531 087623.

To find out more about the CWMT, visit www.cwmt.org.uk or call 01635 869754.