Northern Ireland news

Family of 'bubbly' Belfast grandmother left 'absolutely broken' following her suicide

Mother-of-three Charlene Fryers was found in her Sailortown home last Tuesday. The 51-year-old had taken her own life
Marie Louise McConville

The family of a "bubbly" and "loveable" Belfast woman who took her own life have told of how they have been left "absolutely broken" by the tragedy.

Charlene Fryers (51) was found at her home in the Sailortown area of the city centre by a family member.

The popular mother-of-three, who was originally from the Newington area of north Belfast, was well known through her involvement with her housing association and as an organiser of community events in the docks area.

Speaking to the Irish News, the family of the grandmother-of-four, said her sudden death had been an "utter shock".

The family spoke out about their loss in a bid to urge anyone suffering with mental health issues to "tell someone, there is always someone waiting with open arms to listen and help".

Andrea Fryers said her sister, who was found on the afternoon of Tuesday, January 14, would be remembered as someone who was "outgoing, bubbly and absolutely loveable".

"People gravitated towards her," she said.

Mother-of-three Charlene Fryers was found in her Sailortown home last Tuesday. The 51-year-old had taken her own life

"She always lifted everybody's spirits. She was very family-orientated. Her children and grandchildren were her world. They called her `Granny Dance' because she was outgoing.

"Charlene's role as a mother was the most important in her life. She had a great love for her kids and revolved life around them. Her kids described her as a best friend and perfect role model".

Andrea added: "We didn't see this coming. Because of the type of person she was, it is total and utter shock. She was always outgoing and always upbeat. She was always kind and considerate. We are absolutely broken, like the heart has been ripped out of us".

Andrea urged anyone suffering with their mental health to "reach out" and not "mask" it.

"We are all helping each other. I don't think we will every get over this," she said.

Jonathan McWilliams described his mother, who he said "lit up" every room she entered, as a "prime example of how mental health can be shielded".

"My mummy was the heart of Belfast," he said.

"Every time she walked along the Antrim Road there was always someone she knew which meant that a five minute walk turned into an hour because she knew that many people.

"My mum always lit up the room when she entered and not just because of her pink and purple hair. Her personality was so unique that I will never find anyone else like her. My mum is a piece of my heart that can never be replaced, someone special who no one else can be".

He added: "Not one person would have thought that my mum would have been suffering from mental health issues. I would just like to say that anyone feeling they cannot go on, tell someone, there is always someone waiting with open arms to listen and help. Please never feel alone".

**Anyone in need can contact Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 or the Samaritans on 116 123

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