The Preston woman raising money for estranged dad's funeral after he took his own life during lockdown
Preston-born Sammy Jackson is raising funds to pay for her long-lost dad to have a funeral after he sadly killed himself at just 46-years-old during the third national lockdown.
At 26-years-old, she has always had an "on and off relationship" with her dad Lee Walsh - but after recently hearing of his sudden death from his ex partner at just 46, she is now crowdfunding to give him a send off to be remembered.
Working as a deputy manager at a supported living unit for those struggling with mental health issues, Sammy has seen first hand the effect that the lockdown has had on those battling with their mental health and said her dad had a history with depression before he was found on January 7.
Along with another of his daughters, she is the only biological family that Lee had left after a childhood being brought up in the care system.
She said: "Ever since I was a little girl we had always had an on and off relationship and actually lost touch a few years ago and I hadn't spoken to him since. I found out that he had passed away from his ex partner who was his next of kin.
"He had never spoken much about his biological family, and I knew he was given up straight away as a small baby before being in foster care for the majority of his childhood.
"As far as I knew he always lived alone so he must have been isolated, especially in the pandemic. Looking back now, I can see that he had always struggled with his mental health and his friends have told me that he always found it difficult knowing that I was doing well and that I didn't need him.
"If the council provided a funeral, there wouldn't be a proper service with flowers, I wouldn't get any say in it and it would be really impersonal. I want him to have more than that - for him to have taken his own life he must have felt like he didn't mean much, but he deserves a better send off."
According to daughter Sammy, her dad Lee had a close-knit group of friends where he resided at the Grange area of Ribbleton, Preston who are on hand to help her with the funeral plans.
The 26-year-old also tragically went through the loss of her step-dad eight months ago, and says she now feels "guilty" for not having a stronger relationship with her biological dad.
And her Go Fund Me page, that has a goal of £2,000 that will go towards the cost of the funeral, is currently at the £800 mark.
She added: "We would always talk for a couple of months and see each other, and then it would break down again. I definitely think he always had issues and struggled with depression.
"I do feel guilt for not having a better relationship with him and a part of me will always wonder that if I had got in touch with him, he might still be here today.
"I don't have that opportunity anymore, so want to make sure I am doing all that I can now to give him a better send off because I have no other choice.
"So many donations have come from people who I haven't spoken to for years and others are from people that I don't even know. It really shows the goodness in people's hearts and it's so nice to see."
Donations can be made to the Go Fund Me page here.
For those struggling with suicidal thoughts, the Samaritans can be contacted at anytime on 116 123.
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