A HEARTBROKEN West Cumbrian mother has paid tribute to her beloved son who was ‘her life’ and, determined 'not to let his memory be forgotten', she is hoping to raise greater awareness around conditions such as ADHD.

Finley Abbott died suddenly aged 21 at his home in Dearham on Christmas Eve 2023. His family said there were no warning signs, saying Finley was the happiest he had been ‘for a very long time’.

The Allerdale Waste Services worker was much loved by the many people around him, with mother Erica Galletly saying ‘her life will never be the same’ after the loss of her precious boy.

Finley was a beloved son to Erica and his father David Abbott, as well as brother to Rhys, and loving boyfriend to long-term partner Elliemya Petre.

Times and Star: Finley and long term girlfriend Elliemya Petre.Finley and long term girlfriend Elliemya Petre. (Image: Supplied)

Erica said her son was ‘an old soul in a young body’ with a very cheeky personality. He ‘loved performing’ and was said to be ‘happy all the time’.

His favourite times were when he was on walks up at Blindcrake near Cockermouth with his beloved dog Ada and family. He was said to be ‘always full of fun’ and spent most weekends enjoying a couple of pints and conversation with his mates in his local pub, The Lifeboat Inn, Maryport.

Times and Star: Finley with his beloved dog Ada.Finley with his beloved dog Ada. (Image: Supplied)

It was outside of the Lifeboat, his mother says, three weeks before Christmas Eve, that Finley had saved a man’s life. The 21-year-old talked a man down from jumping in the harbour and encouraged him to attend Andy's Man Club. The man reportedly paid his respects to Finley at his funeral.

The funeral was held on January 5, with between 400-500 people attending St Mary’s Church, Maryport. There was also a special balloon release, held on the harbour, to honour his life.

The funeral also saw a bagpiper and around 70 motorbikes which guided the 21-year-old from his home in Dearham to Maryport, with Erica saying there was only to be the best for her beloved son who would have ‘loved the noise’ throughout the day.

Speaking about her son, Erica said: “Finley was loving, full of hugs and kisses and ringing me every day. He was my life. I was so proud of the man he grew up to be.

Times and Star: Finley Abbott Finley Abbott (Image: Supplied)

“He was always singing, he was such a beautiful singer. We always sang Islands in the Stream together, he was happy all the time and just absolutely loved music.

“I just can’t even describe what he was like and the bond we had with each other; he was definitely once-met-never-forgotten.”

During his teenage years, Finley was diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and Erica is now aiming to raise more awareness of the condition which she feels had a major impact on her son throughout his life.

Erica said: “I always knew he was suffering with something but didn’t know what.

“I just want people to be aware ADHD isn’t a behavioural problem, it’s a mental health problem. There can be a stigma around people with ADHD, but it is just that people can’t manage their emotions.

“When you have got somebody with it you can tend to see the signs. But I think there isn’t a lot of support out there for people with ADHD, people tend to do things on impulse.”

Henry Shelford, CEO and co-Founder of ADHD UK, said: "Finley's story is devastating on so many levels - for Finley, for his friends and family and because agonisingly his story is not unique. Loss of life from ADHD happens across the UK regularly.

"We speak to the parents. We see the funeral donations. Our own experience is backed up by large-scale research that shows that one in 10 men or boys with ADHD and one in four women or girls with ADHD will at some point try to take their own lives.

"So many don't know how tough ADHD is or the support that is needed. But we also know that people with ADHD can be incredible - be leaders, pioneers, entrepreneurs, and at the top of any field.

"We applaud Erica's bravery in speaking out. We need to stop people from losing their lives to ADHD and instead help everyone with ADHD thrive."

The mother has also called for increased support for young people in the county, with suggestions already made that a foundation could be set up in Finley’s name to provide young men in Cumbria with support around mental health problems.

Erica said: “People have said to me, 'Did you seen signs?' But there weren’t any signs. If I thought for one second there was anything I would never have left his side, he hasn’t been down for a very long time.

“I have been told there have been a number of people who have lost their lives over Christmas, where is the support?”

Erica has thanked all those who have supported her since Finley's death. She said: “The support that I have had has been amazing. It showed just how much he was loved and cared for.”

Erica paid special mention to Finley's friend Curt, who gave Finley a great deal of support when he was struggling with some of the challenges in his life, and to Geoff for all the support he had shown Finley.

A total of £774 was raised for Dogs Trust in Finley's name, which Erica presented to the charity alongside Finley's dog Ada at the Lazonby centre on Friday, February 9.

When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year.

You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

North Cumbria NHS Universal Mental Health Crisis Line 0800 652 2865 open 24 hrs a day/7 days a week

South Cumbria NHS Urgent Mental Health Support Line 0800 953 0110 open 24 hrs a day/7 days a week

PAPYRUS – Call 0800 068 41 41 – 9am to midnight. Support line for young people at risk of suicide.

CALM – Call 0800 58 58 58. Men’s Helpline open 5pm – Midnight

Shout Crisis Text Service – Text Shout to 85258 to get 24/7 text support

Andy's Man Club - info@andysmanclub.co.uk