Through the tears and shock a Fenland community comes together to support grief-stricken family over the loss of their 17-year-old son

Whittlesey teenager Connor Hawes died on Monday September 14. Picture: Family/ Rachelle Oliver

Whittlesey teenager Connor Hawes died on Monday September 14. Picture: Family/ Rachelle Oliver

Family/ Rachelle Oliver

Through the tears, through the sorrow and through the devastation of their loss, a family is finding comfort from a community shocked by the loss of their 17-year-old son.

Whittlesey teenager Connor Hawes died on Monday September 14. Picture: Family/ Rachelle OliverWhittlesey teenager Connor Hawes died on Monday September 14. Picture: Family/ Rachelle Oliver

Connor Hawes, aged 17, was pronounced dead on Monday, September 14 after his body was found on the railway between March and Whittlesey.

Heartfelt tributes have poured in on social media, with a number of fundraising events set to go ahead after his funeral which was held this afternoon.

Connor’s mum, Rachelle Oliver, launched the Facebook group ‘In memory of Connor Lee Hawes 2003-2020’ to share photos and memories of her son.

Ms Oliver said: “I can barely find the words to write this, something I never imagined I’d ever have to write as a mother.

Where to get help if you need it:

• Samaritans: Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email jo@samaritans.org, in confidence

• Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won’t show up on your bill

• Platform 1 men’s community group: Support for issues including mental health problems and addiction recovery. Visit the website or call 01484 421143.

• Andy’s Man Club: info@andysmanclub.co.uk

• PAPYRUS: A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141

• Mind: A charity offering support and advice for people with mental health problems.

• Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have low mood, or are suicidal. Click here to visit

• Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here

• Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): For young men who are feeling unhappy. There’s a website and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58

• MindOut: Provide support and advice on mental health for members of LGBTQ communities. Phone 01273 234839

“No one can understand the depths of loss when feelings abandon a soul and leave a void that cannot be filled.

“I’m not sure if we’ll ever know why you felt this was the only way out, I wish you’d given us some hint, any clue.

“My only hope now is that you are free from whatever demons you hid so well from us all.”

A JustGiving page set up by one of Ms Oliver’s close friends has raised more than £3,400, tripling the £1,000 target originally set by organisers.

Whittlesey teenager Connor Hawes died on Monday September 14. Picture: Family/ Rachelle OliverWhittlesey teenager Connor Hawes died on Monday September 14. Picture: Family/ Rachelle Oliver

Organiser Jenna Simpson said: “Our best friend and her family have had the worst news any mother could receive.

“Her 17-year-old son Connor felt the need to take his own life. There were no warning signs, whenever he was asked, everything was always ‘ok’.

“We are hoping to raise the funds so we can help our friend and her family to give Connor the send-off he truly deserves.

“We are also wanting to raise awareness for the prevention of suicide, especially in young men to realise they can speak out about whatever they may be going through.

Whittlesey teenager Connor Hawes died on Monday September 14. Picture: Family/ Rachelle OliverWhittlesey teenager Connor Hawes died on Monday September 14. Picture: Family/ Rachelle Oliver

“Please anyone, if you feel at all like Connor did please don’t suffer alone, we are all here for you.”

Whittlesey Music Nights are holding an 80s night in memory of Connor and hope to help his family with funeral expenses, selling tickets at £10.

His stepdad, Matt Chapman, is staging a ride out fundraising event on Sunday, October 4 and tickets are just £5 to take part.

He said: “I’ve made this event in Connor’s name, all money goes to Papyrus, £5 to ride and you can donate directly via the link the JustGiving page.

“As Connor’s stepdad, I feel it’s now my duty to do all I can to help against suicide in young teens.

“I’ve been the person on the opposite side of the fence, I didn’t have anyone to talk to but now there is, let’s all do our part and raise what we can for PAPYRUS.”

He added: “Connor was the quiet one- growing up he didn’t have many friends; he didn’t have girlfriends or anyone come to knock for him but what he did have was a big heart. He was always a funny little chap making people laugh with the things he said. That’s the Connor I knew and loved.”

To find all of the fundraising events and memories of Connor from family and friends, visit: www.facebook.com/groups/315316909764982


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