THE devastated parents of an 18-year-old who killed himself in Chippenham last November have been comforted by the generosity of others, after a football match organised in his memory raised nearly £7,000.

Kerry and Jason Hammond, of Lingfield Close, were heartbroken by the death of their son Josh. They say they were shocked and amazed at the level of support the family received at the memorial football match on Sunday.

Josh’s former teammates at Chippenham Town Youth Club faced off some of his friends in a match held at Stanley Park that went to penalties, while Mr Hammond led a team that took to the pitch against a medley of supporters.

The cash raised so far from the matches and JustGiving page, which does not include money from a silent auction, now totals £6,449.86.

“It was amazing to see how much Josh was loved,” Mrs Hammond said. “You never really know how much your children mean to other people but that was definitely shown on Sunday.

“We wanted to raise money for MIND and for Josh’s headstone and we had loads of stuff donated to us by local businesses. Our friends Gary and Caroline helped organise the football matches.

“Loads of people came on the day to watch Josh’s old teammates from Chippenham Town Youth Club play his friends, which his friends won, much to their delight, and the second match turned into a bit of a free-for-all but it was all good fun.

“We were amazed by how many people came and stuck it out until the bitter end. It was so cold, and to see that many people there was an absolute honour.”

The 18-year-old, who was a former Sheldon School pupil and leaves his 13-year-old brother Kai, was on anti-depressants.

Despite receiving treatment, Josh, described as ‘quite a private person’, died on November 15.

“People don’t know what organisations are out there to help,” Mrs Hammond added. “We didn’t really know, and I don’t know if it would have helped Josh, but it is so important to tell people.

“We also want to get that information out there in the school system.

“Young girls and women go out for a coffee and talk to one another but boys and young men don’t. We need to make sure that they know it is okay not to be okay, that it is okay to cry and that if you do feel down, to talk to someone.”

Following the memorial football match the Hammonds hope more young people will speak out about their feelings.

“Josh was a typical teenager,” Mrs Hammond said. “He stayed in bed too long, his room was a mess and he loved going out with his mates. He was quite a private person but he enjoyed a good time.

“He was always known as the class clown and had this cheeky smile because of his dimples. He loved music and cars but despite all of that, he obviously found it hard within himself.

“He was depressed and on anti-depressants and we thought he was helping himself but it just wasn’t enough.

“The last few weeks have been really hard and full of different emotions. Every time you go to do something or laugh at something you feel guilty.

“In a way, we feel like we are looking at someone else’s lives and that it is not really happening. We keep expecting him to walk through the front door and say hello. His friends have been amazing and they are a true credit to themselves and their parents.

“On the night Josh died, they asked if they could come round and we all cried together and laughed together and eventually they went and sat on Josh’s bed and talked. I think that really helped them actually.”

Days after the former Sheldon School pupil’s death, the family set up a JustGiving page to raise money for MIND.

“His cousin started up the fundraising page and we thought it would take us a while to raise £1,000 but I think we raised it in a number of hours.

“It only goes to show how many people his story has touched. We said it would be nice to put on a football match every other year for Josh. Caroline Norcott and Gary Knowles managed to put this together in eight weeks and look how much we raised – can you imagine what we could do in 18 months?”

To donate to the JustGiving page visit