ENGLAND boss Gareth Southgate has paid tribute to a "cheeky chappy" fan who was found dead at the age of 23.
Southgate sent the young man's family a moving video passing his condolonces as soon as he heard the tragic news.
23-year-old Ben Pegram from Wormley, Hertfordshire, died on Friday, June 11.
The Three Lions boss said in the heartfelt video: "I've just learned what had happened and what a tragic situation you are all in.
"As a dad myself I can't begin to imagine what you must be feeling.
"I know that Ben was such as huge England fan and looking forward to this summer so much so on behalf of all of us here I just wanted to let you know that our thoughts are with you, we are sending you a lot of love and energy. Please stay strong."
According to his mum Emma, Ben was the life of the party and a massive England fan who was looking forward to watching the games this summer.
"He was a cheeky little chappy who was a plumber and who knew lots of people, he had lots of friends," she told Herts Live.
"He was loved by everybody. He was just cheeky and funny and happy. He was loyal, loving and was a family man.
"Even his own friends he looked at as his own family. He was just a lovely boy."
"They used to call him 'the boy' at work," she added "and my favourite thing about Ben was his dancing and his singing.
"He was always dancing, always singing, he always lightened up the mood.
"Wherever he went he just lit up. He had a big, massive smile and he just lit up the whole room.
"When Ben was there you knew you were going to be partying. He loved having a good time, he loved his festivals.
"He loved to watch the England side play, which he was looking forward to this year."
Emma added that Ben's family was moved about Southgate's video and thought it was "a very honourable thing to do."
"You could see it was from the very bottom of his heart," she said.
Ben's family were shocked by his death and said they were not aware of his mental health struggles.
Now his mum is hoping to set up a charity in his name to help other young men.
"I don't think there's enough out there for young men with mental health issues," she said.
"I think that there are a lot of ways to raise awareness. There are a lot of boys out there that are going through what my Ben was going through and there's no help for them.
"Even if I had to give my phone number for these people to ring me, just to give them the reassurance that there is help out there, there's more to life, there's more to life than what you think. You've just got to believe in it.
"I wish that I could have sat there and told my son this. We didn't know he was feeling this way because he covered it up so well, he's so happy.
"That night that it happened he was out with his friends and he was having a right good time. He was laughing, dancing."
A GoFundme page has been set up to raise funds for Ben's funeral and the money left over will go to charities that help raise awareness of mental health in young men.
You’re Not Alone
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
- Movember, www.uk.movember.com
- Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm
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