'I miss them both terribly' - Mum's memorial wish after sons' deaths

Angela Dent

Angela Dent tragically lost two of her sons in less than half of a year and wants to have a memorial for them - Credit: Angela Dent

A family left "shadows of their former selves" after the death of two brothers are fundraising for a plaque in their memory.

Angela Dent, who lives in Stradbroke, was heartbroken after losing her sons James, 28, and Andrew, 25, in the space of half of a year between 2017 and 2018.

Angela Dent

Angela with James and Andy's siblings - Credit: Angela Dent

The mother-of-six wishes to get a marble memorial plaque made for them as she paid tribute to her beautiful and gorgeous angels.

James Dent took his own life the day after his 28th birthday on November 29 2017 while in a mental health clinic run by Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT). 

The date would have been his grandfather's birthday, who had only died the month before.

Miss Dent, who is mum to two girls and four boys, said: "James had been a resident in the Norvic Clinic for over a decade. 

"His mental health was suffering terribly and then to be told he wasn't allowed to attend his grandfather's funeral and the fact he'd been jumping through hoops to try to get a release date.

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"It breaks me but he'd just had enough."

Angela Dent

James outside the Norvic Clinic in Norwich - Credit: Angela Dent

Following James' death, the NHS had to spend millions across Norfolk and Suffolk to make changes to facilities to prevent a similar situation occurring again, which Miss Dent calls her "beautiful angel's legacy".

"My fondest memories of my beautiful boy were when my children were all young and playing football with the other children in the village of Wyverstone," added Miss Dent.

"He was always a strong-minded lad but very kind and gentle. I feel that because they didn't let James attend the funeral that was a big factor in why he took his own life.

"It was a horrible place and I know in my heart he simply just couldn't take anymore."

Amy Eagle, interim chief operating officer at NSFT, said: “I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to James and Andrew’s family and friends. I hope that the fundraising for a memorial plaque to remember them is successful.

“The Trust has made many changes since 2018, including introducing monthly ligature reviews on all inpatient areas, the use of ligature assessments in safety plans for patients and we have invested significantly to, as far as is possible, eliminate fixed ligature risks."

Angela Dent

Angela and Andy on his 21st birthday - Credit: Angela Dent

Months later on April 21 2018 the family received further devastating news with the death of Andrew at the age of 25.

Mr Dent was found in sheltered housing accommodation in Woodbridge, though the cause of his death was deemed unobtainable.

He had a number of drugs - both recreational and prescription - in his system including MDMA, though none were in quantities which would have caused his death alone.

The post-mortem also found that Mr Dent had undiagnosed heart problems which could have caused his death.

Miss Dent says her "gorgeous angel's" death was a cry for help and was partly due to losing his oldest brother.

She said: "My dearest memories of my Andy were him and his dad watching Arsenal play, they were both avid supporters and were so very alike in their ways.

Angela Dent

The family letting balloons off with messages to both Andy and James - Credit: Angela Dent

"Andy had Asperger's syndrome and Tourette's, but he had such a wicked sense of humour and could really make you belly laugh.

"I miss them both terribly and their deaths have scarred me too deep."

Both her sons had wanted to have similar careers. James had always wanted to be a vet and Andy had a love of horses and supported the Museum of East Anglian Life.

Since their deaths, Miss Dent has been diagnosed with PTSD and says she feels her sons were let down by Norfolk and Suffolk mental health services.

The 53-year-old added: "I am utterly heartbroken that my boys didn't receive the help they truly deserved to the point they felt they needed to take their own lives.

"I am truly grateful for any donations made to help get a memorial plaque for my boys so I have somewhere to see their names and be able to go to talk to them."

If you would like to help donate, please visit: gofundme.com/f/help-me-to-get-a-memorial-plaque.

To honour someone you have lost, you can submit your own tribute using this Google Form.

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