THE grieving father of a teenager who hanged himself has spoken out for the first time about the tragedy.
Pete Hale has paid tribute to son Robbie, who was found at his home in Corsair Close, Lee-on-the-Solent, in January. He was just 16.
The 41-year-old said: ‘Robbie was the best. I miss him to bits. He was my best mate, not only my son.
‘We had an amazing relationship. We used to play football together, which took us all over the place on tours.
‘And we used to go to watch matches when Liverpool were playing – that’s my team and it was Robbie’s too.
‘We did lots and lots together like all fathers and sons do. I have so many of happy memories with him that I cherish.’
By speaking out, Pete hopes he will help other families in similar situations.
He said: ‘Robbie suffered from depression – he had issues. But I didn’t expect him to be this low. It was a big shock.
‘No-one can describe the feeling that I had and his mum had when we lost our son. Only other people who have been through it will understand. I know what people are going through when they lose their children and if I can help in any way then I will.’
He is urging more families to get help and support through Papyrus – a national suicide prevention charity campaigning which aims to save young people’s lives.
‘Papyrus is fantastic,’ he added. ‘If more people got involved with it maybe that would stop young kids from doing what Robbie did.
‘It’s frightening the number of kids that do it. They might not have people to talk to.
‘If they can get all the help they can that’s the main thing.’
To show his support, Pete took on a 90-mile bike ride from his home in Swindon to Bay House School, in Gosport, where Robbie was in the sixth form.
‘It was tough and halfway through it was emotional because I was thinking of Robbie,’ he added.
‘Wiltshire is very hilly – that was the hard part – but Robbie brought out a nice day for me and made sure there was no rain.’
‘It was difficult but enjoyable, and it was for a worthy cause.
‘All the aches and pains that I have had are worth saving somebody’s life.
‘I thought I would find it really tough, it is a challenge.
‘But I’m one for not giving up on challenges – doing it for my boy is the main thing.’
Bay House School held a fundraising day for Robbie on July 27 – what would have been his 17th birthday. Around £2,600 was raised.