Grieving dad: Son Nathan was my best pal

A grieving father whose teacher son was killed on an Ipswich railway today told of his pain at losing his “best friend”.

IPSWICH: A grieving father whose teacher son was killed on an Ipswich railway today told of his pain at losing his “best friend”.

The body of Nathan Hall was found near the tracks in Ipswich on January 24, near to the Halifax junction and Bourne Park.

The 32-year-old, who lived in Christchurch Street, taught English at Westbourne Sports College after moving to the UK from his native Canada in 2007.

Today, his family remembered his “glimpses of greatness” and his passions for music, poetry, running and travelling.

Dick Hall, Nathan's father, paid a particularly moving tribute to his son, revealing how Nathan had helped him recover from cancer several years ago, bike riding with him every day to help him regain his strength.

He was on holiday in North America with wife Joyce, Nathan's mother, when they received the devastating news of their son's death.

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“He was my best friend and I miss him,” said Mr Hall. “I needed him for longer.”

Mr Hall has also told how “troubled” Nathan battled two previous bouts of depression during his time at university.

He said: “He was never one to bother others, no matter how heavy the burden he carried.

“It was his habit to carry the loads of others. On January 24, two days after he turned 32, he stepped in front of a train, giving the weight of his journey up to god.

“He was my best friend, and I miss him.

“I understand that his decision to end his life was taken in the deep mental anguish of depression, yet I respect him for setting his own way, steering his own course and being his own man.

“I needed him for longer.”

Mr Hall told of his treasured memories of his youngest son, who was “born on a beautiful bright morning”, talking of his ability as a child to “escape into worlds of make believe” with his friends, ice skating almost as soon as he could walk, fishing, growing up in a canoe and excelling in sport and at school.

“Always he was the poet, the minstrel, the gym rat and the student spokesman,” Mr Hall said.

Later in life Nathan's bike was one of his door's to freedom, and along with his guitar were his most treasured possessions.

Speaking of his son's remarkable ability to teach he said: “He often confided in me that he was leading his students along about Canada's hockey culture, or the vast diversity and forbidding climate or his arctic adventures while still a child.

“This was the literary Nathan, the fun-loving, self-depreciating humorist and teacher, so vastly different from the studious and contemplative private Nathan.

“This educator had a sense of what each student needed, or what each group needed, and found a way to provide for that need.

“In the UK he gave me the sense that at his school were kids who needed a window to the world, a confidant, a leader who could let them be foolish, let them stretch creativity, even encourage it, a loving parent, and a friend.

“He had a place, and he was making a difference in kids' lives and while he cursed the frustrations of his delicate profession he could not abandon young lives that needed what he offered.”

Pay tribute to Nathan Hall - write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

A cousin of Nathan Hall's today added her loving memories to the family tribute honouring “one of her favourite people”.

Christine Barnard, who lives in Canada, remembered a “smart, funny, courageous, sensitive and caring” person, who was one of the most wonderful people she ever knew.

“I can fondly remember him strumming his guitar to Leonard Cohen - one of hit utmost favourite musicians,” she said.

“I loved how he could sit with you for hours and not say a thing, and then talk non-stop for the next hour.

“It was the ease in his body language that made you comfortable around him.

“When I think of Nate, I think of his curly hair, the twinkle in his eye when he had a really great laugh coming on, which often happened only after he was found out, and his fantastic sense of humour.

“He was quick with his words and could make me laugh so easily.”

Nathan was Mrs Barnard's son Zachary's godfather and the last time she saw him at home he was playing football with her children, something the family still talk fondly about.

She added: “He was my cousin, my friend, my brother. I will love him and miss him for eternity.”

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