Everyone is invited to celebrate what should have been the 40th birthday of a popular Great Sutton man who sadly took his own life.
Friends of Neil Sampson arranged the night in his local, Old Wirral Hundred, this Saturday (February 6) with the aim of remembering their loved one but also raising awareness and funds for mental health charity MIND.
Neil, who died last August, would have been 40-years-old on February 2.
His mum Norma, dad Ray and brother Graham are all going along to support the event which has already raised £3,000 through a Just Giving page.
The night will no doubt have ‘a bitter-sweet’ atmosphere but one of Neil’s close friends Paul Hayhoe says the evening is intended to be fun, in keeping with Neil’s character.
He said: “He was a legend, the life and soul of the party. If you were out with him, he would have you in stitches every time, an absolute legend. We were all gutted when we heard the devastating news.”
The night will include men raising cash by having their legs, arms and chests waxed and a hot wings challenge involving friends being sponsored to eat the most spicy chicken wings in the shortest possible time.
There will be a live DJ, a raffle and grand auction, including ‘prizes’ such as luxury hampers worth more than £200.
Paul, who is also from Great Sutton, said Neil’s popularity was demonstrated by the hundreds who turned out for his funeral at St Mary’s Church, Eastham.
His friend’s parents and younger brother were ‘massively devastated’ but keen to back MIND in a bid to stop a tragedy like this happening again.
“They don’t want anybody else to go what they’re going through,” said Paul, manager of the leisure club in Chester’s Crowne Plaza hotel.
He added: “You don’t always know what someone is going through and that’s the importance of doing this, to raise awareness of this charity MIND.
Shocking suicide stats among young males
“My missus has looked into the statistics and one of the biggest causes of death of males under 45 is suicide. A lot of males don’t talk about what’s going on in their head. He was the last person we expected to do anything like this.”
The capacity of the pub is 250 with the concern people may be turned away because Neil was so well loved. The evening begins at 5pm and will continue until the ‘close’, with children permitted between 5-9pm and free face painting to keep them entertained. The motto for the night is ‘the more the merrier’.
To donate to MIND, you can either click on the link to the Just giving page or text SAMO97 and either £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070.