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Suicide: Tributes to musician Toby Parkinson

By Marijke Hall

The mother of an aspiring musician who took his own life has urged others not to suffer in silence.

Joy Parkinson says her son Toby, 20, struggled with bouts of depression but chose to keep the extent of his daily torment private until he was unable to cope anymore.

She says her "witty and lively" son was passionate about music and had a good group of friends, but admits he had been feeling low in the lead up to his death on June 1.

Toby Parkinson took his own life while struggling with depression
Toby Parkinson took his own life while struggling with depression

The Canterbury College student was living in Forrester Close on the Poets' Estate, where his body was found in nearby woodland.

Mrs Parkinson said: “Toby was a bit shy but he was lively and outgoing with his friends.

“He was always playing music. Even when he was watching television he would have a guitar in his lap. He wrote his own music, too, mainly lyrics.

“He was witty and funny and tended to become the centre of attention, even though he wasn’t really comfortable with that outside his circle of friends.”

Mrs Parkinson says her son, who was studying music production, had suffered depression since he was 16.

“He had low moods before it happened,” she said.

Toby was a keen guitarist
Toby was a keen guitarist

“He made posts on Facebook expressing he was a bit down, although nothing about his depression.

“He was thinking he didn’t know where his life was going and he had nothing immediate to look forward to.”

Mrs Parkinson, of Oxford Street, Margate, admits his death was not a complete surprise, but still came as a shock to the family.

“You think you should have noticed something, but he was quite a private person,” she said.

“You beat yourself up thinking you could have done something.

“I think it needs to be more encouraged that people should get help for their problems.

"I hope that in reading Toby's story, someone in a similar situation finds the strength to seek help" - Joy Parkinson

“The trouble is the last thing you want to do is tell anybody about it.

"I do understand why people keep it to themselves.

“The college had noticed he was changing and he was becoming more withdrawn and they had tried to encourage him to get help.”

Mr Parkinson, who grew up in Margate, aspired to be a session musician and played the acoustic and electric guitar.

He was one of four brothers, aged from 13 to 25, who all live at the family home in Margate with their parents.

Mrs Parkinson said: “We’re very close and I think his death has made us all aware that what we see on the outside may not be what they are feeling inside and try to explain that if there is a problem, be open and speak about it.

“We will never judge. I want them to know they are not an island – they have people around them who care.

“I hope that in reading Toby’s story, someone in a similar situation finds the strength to seek help.

“As a family, we will be trying to support the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) in his memory.”

A memorial gig was held on June 13 at Olbey’s in Margate

An inquest into Mr Parkinson’s death will be held on August 23.

  • To get support through CALM visit www.thecalmzone.net

If you would like confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time.

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