A young boy whose godfather died last year asked for donations to a mental health charity when he turned eight earlier this week – ‘so nobody will be sad on my birthday.’
Big-hearted Lucas Sims was so devastated when his godfather was discovered dead on his birthday last year that he made the appeal to spread happiness.
Football fan Lucas gave up on gifts to raise £500 for charity MINT – Men in Need Together – which helps men speak out about mental health problems.
It meant for his birthday this year was a cheerier affair, as he received lots of attention and love for his selfless act.
On September 15 last year, Jack Bentley, the best friend of Lucas’s dad Danny Sims -was found hanged in woodland after he had gone missing two days before.
He was just 26 and was about to be best man at Danny’s wedding the week after.
Proud dad, electrician Danny, 27, from Leeds, West Yorks., said: “It was such a terrible shock to find out Jack had died on Lucas’ birthday.
“We did try to focus on Lucas as much as we could but it was so very heartbreaking to lose somebody so close to us – and to Lucas as well.
“Lucas does not know how he died, he is too young for that, but he is still sad to have lost someone who meant so much to our family.
“We still went ahead with our wedding, but made sure to dedicate part of the day to Jack, releasing balloons in his memory.
“As Lucas’ birthday approached I could not believe it when he told me he didn’t want any presents this year and he said he wanted his presents to go to others so that nobody else would be sad on his birthday.
“So we arranged for all birthday money to be donated to a charity which was set up in Jack’s honour after his death.”
Jack was part of a strong friendship group of around 20 friends who had all gone to school together in Leeds, West Yorks., yet still he had nobody to speak to when he was obviously suffering.
Father-of-two Danny said: “None of us had any idea at all what he was going through.”
In response to that, friend Josh Sturgeon, 26, set up the charity MINT to get men speaking to each other in times of need.
Father-of-two Josh said: “I got to thinking that if we do have problems, who do we turn to?
“And that was when I set up the charity to allow men to speak about what’s going on with others who understand what they’re going through.
“For Lucas to be donating to us, to be thinking of others and having so much compassion is what we need to help men to be able to feel.
“What a brilliant young boy. I cannot thank Lucas enough.”
Lucas’ parents, Danny and wife administration assistant Sheree, 28, and little sister, Ivy, three, are all tremendously proud of Lucas, who was presented with a certificate from Josh for his kind efforts.
Danny said: “We will never forget Jack, but we will also never forget what Lucas has done for him.
“He might not know what has happened but he can see and feel the impact his death has had on us.
“If Lucas’ donations can save at least one other person from going what we’ve been through then it’s a brilliant thing.”
To donate to MINT, which now runs nine support groups across the country, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/MINT-MenInNeedTogether?fbclid=IwAR3io_FzKHmc1PKi8rNc0DItAXsyZtxJp6-GbZSMDuDJT30ve8NDGbxChNc