Wigan family rocked by double tragedy urges more help for mental illness sufferers

Lee Campbell
Lee Campbell

The family of popular Wigan dad Lee Campbell whose body was found at the weekend have suffered an unimaginable double heartbreak.

That is because the 32-year-old’s tragic death comes nine years after his sister Phillipa was killed aged just 19 in a high-speed road smash caused by a male friend.

Lee with his sister Phillipa

Lee with his sister Phillipa

Related: Tributes paid after tragic death of Wigan man

Tributes poured in for Lee on social media as Greater Manchester Police (GMP) revealed a body had been found in a field off Hassness Close in Worsley Mesnes at around 3.20pm on Saturday.

The force also announced its three-day search for Lee, who had last been seen in Poolstock on Thursday lunchtime, was over.

The most emotional words came from Lee’s family, with Gill Butler revealing in a public post on Facebook how the family was having to cope with facing tragedy for the second time.

She said: “We lost Phillipa in a horrific RTA at 19 which tore us all to pieces. Nine years on, her brother Lee has left us and our world has crumbled once again.

“Brother and sister now gone, two beautiful people both on the inside as well as the out.

“How as a family do we recover from this?...we don’t. Yes, we will huddle together with our grief, support Sue and Rob and surround them with all our love and support.

“Looking at the hundreds and hundreds of posts and such fantastic friends that our Lee had it makes me so sad to think that he was loved by so many, but at the end he was so alone.

“Rest easy Lee, you are with Pip and I’m sure she was there waiting for you.”

Scores of other messages from work colleagues, friends and fellow Wiganers also filled Facebook, with everyone sharing deep grief and shock at what had happened.

Stephen Tregear, who is a plumber like Lee, wrote: “It has been a hard few days of worrying, but at last Lee has been found and he is resting in peace.

He was an inspiration to us all, a hard working guy, completing call-outs 24/7.”

Paul Bradbury wrote on Facebook: “I am so sad to be writing this about my friend Lee Campbell. He was one of the good guys. Thank you to everyone that shared the search for Lee. He will be sadly missed by lots. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Rest in peace Lee you was always liked by many and now missed by more.”

The police confirmed there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding Lee’s death.

Following Phillipa’s death in a crash caused by a motorist who had been affected by drink and was driving far too fast her and Lee’s mum Sue became outspoken in calling for heavier sentences in cases involving deaths on the road.

She was then one of the faces of a high-profile Johnston Press campaign in 2016 which aimed to put killer drivers in jail for far longer. Phillipa had been about to start university and longed to travel to Australia when she lost her life.

Among the masses of tributes to Lee were numerous messages urging attention be paid to male mental health.

Wiganers took to social media to urge men to talk openly about how they are feeling and encouraging residents to break the stigma around discussing mental illness.

It is a call which has also come from Lee’s devastated grieving relatives.

Gill Butler wrote on Facebook: “If anything needs to come out of Lee’s death it is the need for mental health, especially for men, to be brought forward in the political agenda, talked about, addressed and money spent on services to help.

“Mental health is an illness, not something to be embarrassed about, whispered and sneered about in corners.

“It’s real and it affects people from all walks of life.”

Other Facebook messages were posted bearing the hashtag #mentalhealth and Wiganers also reminded their fellow residents of organisations who offer confidential listening services and help to those in difficulties.

Samaritans are available to listen at any time. Call the charity’s free 24/7 helpline on 116 123 or ring 01942 492 222.