A GIFTED rugby-playing teenager who gave himself the highest standards in his academic work had sought help with mental health services but cancelled appointments in the months before his death.

James Ashcroft, 17, from Carperby, Wensleydale, died on May 2, just ten days before his 18th birthday, an inquest heard on Friday, August 30 at Northallerton's Evolution Centre.

Coroner Rob Turnbull heard how James was a passionate teenager who put pressure on himself to do the best in all he did.

In a statement his father Mark Ashcroft said: "He had recently attended Wensleydale School where he was head boy, and completed his GCSEs.

"He did not yet know what career he wanted but had talked about medicine. He had wanted ten grade 7s at GCSE and was devastated with his three B grades and seven A-equivalent. He got the same as his twin sister and she was pleased with hers. We were very happy with their grades but he wanted to be the best."

The inquest heard James began his A-level studies at Ripon Grammar School and he enjoyed it there.

However, the lengthy commute, rugby club commitments and high workload meant he was struggling with a work-life balance, and he eventually moved to QE College in Darlington.

Mr Ashcroft said: "On a family holiday he told me he wanted to leave QE and come back to Wensleydale School. He decided to do that because he knew the teachers and students."

Mr Ashcroft said James' mood was "up and down" from the end of 2018, and said he was either "fine or the complete opposite".

"We encouraged him to seek support but once he made his made his mind up he was adamant."

James' GP Dr Julia Brown said he had attended an appointment to discuss his low mood in October 2018. He was referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) on November 15, but cancelled the appointment as he felt better. In March 2019 he sought another appointment, but again decided not to attend.

Mr Turnbull said: "James asked for help but then withdrew from it. He set himself very high standards." He gave a conclusion of suicide.

After his death, James' family set up a Just Giving page to raise money for mental health charity MQ, and have so far raised more than £4,000.

To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/james-ashcroft-mq.