Thousands raised in memory of '˜exceptional human being' after tragic suicide

Devastated friends and family of a young man who took his own life have set up a crowdfunding page in his memory which has raised thousands of pounds.

Thursday, 15th June 2017, 3:12 pm
Updated Monday, 19th June 2017, 12:47 pm
Oliver Hare with his mum Ann Feloy in Sorrento, Italy

Oliver Hare, known as Olly, died just two days before his 23rd birthday, on February 14 at his home in Worthing.

The JustGiving page ‘ForOllyHare’ closes on June 27 and has raised more than £12,700 donated by 480 people. Everyone who has contributed will be invited to join the group ‘Olly’s Future’ which has been formed to celebrate Olly’s life and raise awareness of youth suicide.

Olly’s parents, English teacher and playwright Ann Feloy and historian Chris Hare, and Olly’s 27-year-old brother Samuel said they had been overwhelmed by people’s support, love and generosity and were so grateful to them for raising so much money.

Oliver Hare during his time at University College London

At Olly’s funeral at Christ Church, Worthing, on March 4, there were more than 650 people with rows of people standing at the back.

According to Ann, it was the most attendees the funeral directors had seen.

She said: “We were overwhelmed by so many people of all ages telling us how much Olly meant to them. It gives us enormous comfort to know that Olly’s goodness and empathy, joy and laughter will live on through all those who loved and knew him and through the work of ‘Olly’s Future’.

“He had enough friends for a lifetime and did more than most people ever do in 80 years or more. The world has lost an exceptional human being – one that would have given so much had he lived – so we feel it is essential to ensure something very positive and great comes from his passing.”

Oliver Hare upon his return home after a trip around the world

Olly graduated from University College London with a first-class honours degree in History last year, and was working as a language teacher for the British Council in Shanghai shortly before he died.

Ann said ‘Olly’s Future’ is keen to debunk the myth that it is only those with a long history of mental illness or depression who take their own lives. In Olly’s case, he reported feeling low for the first time in his life just a few months before he died.

Some of the money raised in memory of Olly will pay for people of all ages to go on suicide awareness courses run by the charity Papyrus.

Ann is now working with Worthing Medical Group, which has GP surgeries in Shelley Road, and Heene Road, Worthing, to improve procedures there. She said she is delighted they have taken on a mental health nurse and will be addressing staff there with Papyrus.

Oliver Hare during his time at University College London

She also wants vast improvements in the support given by the British Council to new teaching staff in China.

Olly was a man of many achievements before his tragic death.

As well as getting top marks for his degree, he also gained 14 GCSEs and four A-Levels, all of which were A or A* grades, at Christ Hospital School in Horsham.

University College London has set up the annual Oliver Hare Altruism Award in recognition of his kindness and compassion, and his school is planning to commemorate him.

Oliver Hare upon his return home after a trip around the world

After winning a top economics prize, Olly was an apprentice at the Worshipful Company of World Traders, one of the biggest livery companies in the city of London. Had he lived, Olly would have become a Freeman of the City of London this year.

Olly spent two summers working at orphanages in Romania and went on tour to Barcelona with a big band.

A speaker of Spanish, German and French, he travelled the world in his gap year and was also the lead in a show at the Adelphi Theatre in London in 2015.

If you would like to speak to the Samaritans charity, the helpline number is 116 123.

For practical adivce and support on youth suicide prevention, call Papyrus on 0800 068 41 41, text 07786 209 697 or email [email protected]