A boxing gala will take place this month to raise awareness of the need for better help for those struggling with mental health, particularly young men, and to collect funds for a new mental health charity.
Connor Gorham, a boxing and fitness trainer from Ramsgate who recently took his CG Fitness gym to a new site at Copperleaf Business Park, is organising the 13 fighter event at Lordswood Leisure Centre in Chatham on June 25 in memory of friend Gabriel Farmer.
Gabriel lost his life to suicide on May 14 aged just 23. His mum Louise Knight had fought to get him help for depression and anxiety but sadly Gabriel lost his battle despite speaking out, asking for help and going to doctors, therapy and male support groups.
Louise is now setting up the Angel Gabriel Charity, determined to help others and make sure no family has to endure the pain of losing a loved one to suicide.
Dad-of-one Connor, 28, trained Lou and Gabriel at his gym and a close friendship was built.
He said: “I was Gabe’s boxing coach and trained him and his mum together. I was pretty close to him and built a friendship over the couple of years he trained after starting during the pandemic.
“Before he passed away he came to see me with his mum. He said he was struggling and that he did not want to be here anymore but was happy when he was boxing with me.
“But he stopped coming and I tried to get him back in the gym but he lost motivation to be here.
“I train so many people who suffer with mental health and so many are going through struggles. Helping them is a key focus and a really big part of what I am about having had my own struggles in the past.
“I used to have a laugh and a joke with Gabe but people don’t always say what they are going through.
“This event supports Lou and her charity and also raises awareness of mental health and suicide, I’ve lost so many friends to suicide so it is really important.”
Louise says setting up the charity is vital because after the therapies and the men’s groups “there is no next step.”
Suicide is the number one cause of death of men under the age of 50 with around three quarters of deaths from suicides each year being men. The Samaritans answer a call for help every 10 seconds but accessing professional services can be difficult, especially for those who feel pressured to ‘man up’ instead of speaking out.
The aim of the Angel Gabriel charity is to help people pay for private healthcare and therapy so they get the help and support immediately, when they need it, and not have to wait for weeks to get an appointment.
The Lordswood Mind Over Matter boxing event has some standing only tickets still available, priced £30, by messaging CG Boxing Club here
Sponsors are Leadbeatters Labour, St Lawrence Tavern, The Curry House (Ramsgate) and E Z Attire. A host of isle businesses have also donated prizes for a raffle to be held on the night.
A charity football match organised by Gabriel’s friend Jamie Bowen will take place at Margate’s Hartsdown ground on June 4.
The £5 match admission fee will be used for the Angel Gabriel charity as will any other donations made on the day.
Gate opens at 2pm, 3pm kick off.
Gabriel’s funeral service will take place on June 7, Margate crematorium, at 12.15pm. People are welcome to attend outside, where there will be speakers and a live stream, but inside the chapel is invite only because of the huge amount of people who want to pay their respects.
A wake will be held at The Lanthorne in Broadstairs, which will also stream the service.
Louise says Gabriel had previously talked about a funeral and his wish was that people wear rainbow colours or pink.
Sharing the service details, Louise added: “Life will never be the same but I will never be prouder to be a mum to such a beautiful soul. I will miss him forever but at least I had him.”
Gabriel leaves behind mum Lou, sister Lilli, girlfriend Shannon, best friend Gio, family and many friends.
Ask for help
- Call Kent and Medway’s Single Point of Access on 0300 222 0123 (24/7) or text 07860 022819 (8am-10pm)
- Or call the Mental Health Matters team on 0800 107 0160. Free, confidential and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- Thanet Safe Haven on 07850 655877 6pm – 11pm 365 days or email email@example.com. If your usual sources of support are closed Safe Haven in Thanet offers mental health support to Kent residents aged 16+, including healthcare professionals.
- East Kent Mind 0795 060 8827 or visit their website
- Wellbeing line 0203 912 0032 is open Monday – Friday 2pm-5pm and Sunday 6pm-10pm
- SpeakUp CIC peer support in Margate Email: firstname.lastname@example.org