A charity football match in memory of Ben Simons from Saffron Walden has raised more than £5,000 for Mind in West Essex.

The charity sent condolences and thanks to Ben's family after receiving the total from the match - which took place at Saffron Walden Football Club last month.

Dad-of-three Ben sadly died by suicide last year. According to his wife Ruth, Ben was an avid Spurs supporter, and played at Lower Street Football Club for many years.

Ben also played for many local teams, including Newport when growing up, until an injury on the pitch meant he could no longer play.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Ben Simons tragically died last yearBen Simons tragically died last year (Image: Mind in West Essex)

The memorial match gathered every closest to Ben, as well as the local community, to celebrate Ben's life and share memories of him.

Ben's mother Kim Parker said: "Ben's family were overwhelmed by the love and support received from family, friends and local businesses, hopefully the money raised will help other families avoid such devastation.

"There's always light at the end of a tunnel no matter how dim or distant it seems, it is there, reach out and look for it with the help that is out there at Mind in West Essex."

Everyone involved in the match helped raise £5,074.60 for the charity. The money will help ensure there is support available for local people in need through provision of free information, services and groups.

Mind in West Essex also offers free suicide awareness training, which members of the public are invited to sign up to.

Fundraising coordinator Jade Bolton said: "It is important to us that we can understand and respond to the mental health and wellbeing needs of local people.

"We are very grateful that Ben’s family and friends chose our charity to support during this difficult time, and we are committed to using the money raised to reach out to local people at their point of need."

Anyone who needs support or information around their emotional wellbeing or mental health can visit https://www.suicideawareness.org.uk/ or https://www.samaritans.org.

You can also call the crisis helpline on 101, or get emotional support from Mind in West Essex at https://www.mindinwestessex.org.uk/services/west-essex-night-owls-support-line/.