Friends of the "most loving" County Durham dad of two who unexpectedly took his own life at the start of the year have set up a fundraiser in his memory.

Jonathon Heppell, 28, from Seaham, took his own life on January 2, and left behind his partner and two children. 

Following his death, which was a "huge shock" to his loved ones, a campaign has been organised by his friend Shane Harrison who set up a fundraiser on GoFundMe.

In just six days, the community has raised over £9,000 to pay for funeral arrangements and to be donated to mental health charities. 

The Northern Echo: Jonathon Heppell, 28, from Seaham.Jonathon Heppell, 28, from Seaham. (Image: GOFUNDME)

The fundraiser reads: "In life, Jonathon Heppell radiated energy into any room he walked into and was always so caring to the people he held close.

"However, as some of you may know, Jonathon unexpectedly took his own life in the early hours of the morning on January 2nd.

"This has been a huge shock to everyone close to him and as you can imagine has left his family in the devastating position of having to fund his funeral. At the age of 28, no family would ever expect to have to do this for someone so young.

"After speaking to his partner Danielle and mam Susan, I have decided to put this page together as a way of helping towards the costs of the funeral without putting his family in the difficult position of having to ask. With any donations being given directly to his family.

"Any remaining funds raised will either be kept for Jonathon’s two children Millie and Alfie or as his family have expressed wanting to contribute positively for other men struggling, donated to a cause that can prevent tragedies like this from happening to other families in future.

"If you are struggling, please don’t be afraid to speak up or seek help. We are not alone, there is always help there, you just need to be able to ask for it."

As the fundraiser grew in success, a comment was added from Jonathon's mum Susan Heppell paying tribute to her "most loving" son as she hopes this could prompt men to speak up about their mental health.

She wrote: "This is amazing, I cannot believe this. The posts on Facebook regarding talking about issues, asking friends for help etc being shared by so many friends and family far and wide is so great.

"We are so proud that our handsome, most loving son has made such an impact on people and the amount of people messaging me about how men should talk or ask for help is just... wow.

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"In a few short hours, many have been sharing too. Why Jonathon did not ask for help is so painful, but if only 1 person is helped by this then we know his life was not in vain.

"I don't think I can ever stop crying but our hearts are bursting with pride he meant so much to others. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your help."

If you are in need of support:

  • Samaritans are available, day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at, or visit to find your nearest branch.
  • If U Care Share on 0191 387 5661 or text IUCS to 85258.
  • SANE on 07984 967 708, Calm on 0800 58 58 58.
  • Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust crisis line 0800 0516 171.