Grieving wife's plea over foal name

A GRIEVING wife, whose husband took his own life at the end of last year, has today called for the Suffolk Punch foal to be named after him. Sally-Ann Watkins, of Cowper Street, Ipswich, has today opened up about the pain she has been suffering since her 44-year-old husband -Roger, known as 'Dodge', killed himself on December 1, 2007.

A GRIEVING wife, whose husband took his own life at the end of last year, has today called for the Suffolk Punch foal to be named after him.

Sally-Ann Watkins, of Cowper Street, Ipswich, has today opened up about the pain she has been suffering since her 44-year-old husband -Roger, known as 'Dodge', killed himself on December 1, 2007.

The Evening Star launched a competition for readers to name a new rare breed foal, belong to farmer Tom Walne of Walnut Tree Farm, Ipswich.

Mrs Watkins, 39, who has moved from their rented home in Reading Road since the tragedy, said: “When I read the article about the foal, it made me smile and that is something I haven't done for a long time. As the foal was a boy, and he reminded me of Dodge-who was cheeky, it would be great if it was named after him.


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“My husband was a caring and loving person with a beautiful smile, kind and warm eyes and full of fun and energy when he was well. You didn't just like him when you met him, you just fell in love with him. He was larger than life.

“He left behind many people who loved him dearly.”

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For years, the father of two, who worked first as a crane driver then in the office at the Felixstowe docks for 12 years, suffered depression, and even though this seemed to have disappeared for the first two years of their marriage, it soon returned.

The pair met in a pub where Mrs Watkins worked in 2000 and married a year later.

She said: “He had severe depression which he had suffered throughout his life. When he met me, his family breathed a sigh of relief because he seemed to be better.

“If you do not have depression yourself, it is very hard to understand. You think to yourself 'if I can get up everyday, why can't they'. To live with it is one thing but to understand it is a completely different thing.

“He told me that he had tried to take his own life before but I suppose I brushed that off because I thought why would he do that when he has me, two sons, a good job. I understand more now about depression than I ever did but I guess it is too late.”

Mrs Watkins had just got a new job working at Ipswich Hospital's shop last November when Mr Watkins began to go through a bad patch again and could not go to work.

She said: “I worried about him all the time. I was working ten-hour shifts so he didn't have to work. He constantly fought the depression although he gave up in the end. He took anti-depressants years ago but he was adamant he could do it by himself. He said as long as I loved him, it would be alright and I thought love could conquer anything.”

One of Mr Watkins' main passions was scooters, and he had been a member of the Coasters Scooter Club since about 1998.

She added: “Coasters have been wonderful since my loss and I know they would love the foal to be named after him as a memory.”

An inquest into his death earlier this year concluded that he took his own life.

Do want to pay tribute to Mr Watkins? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

EVENING Star readers have already been sending plenty of entries in for our Name the Foal competition.

Many of you seem to be using the Ipswich Town Football Club connection, and coming up with names like Tractor Boy and Bobby. Others have chosen more different names like Punchinello, and Whitton Merlin.

Any names, from serious to wacky, will be considered.

The new foal's owner Tom Walne is looking for suggestions and will then decide which name suits his latest rare breed horse.

If you have got a good idea for a name, write to: Name The Foal, Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

The new name will be announced in The Evening Star and the person behind the winning entry will get a chance to meet the new horse.

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