Hundreds turn out to say goodbye to Sunderland dad Lee Downey
Hundreds gathered to say their final goodbyes to much-loved Sunderland dad Lee Downey.
The 35-year-old died following a struggle with mental health problems which tragically led him to take his own life.
The dad-of-two from Grindon Court, was struggling with depression and psychosis when he went missing on Sunday, March 5.
A huge police search followed, but Lee’s body was sadly found on Seaham beach three days later.
In a tribute to Lee’s love of motorbikes, the funeral procession was led by a motorcycle cavalcade made up of six coffin bearers - including Lee’s stepdad Colin, 54, brothers Scott, 27 and Chad, 23, and three friends.
The service, which was held at Sunderland Crematorium on Thursday, was led by humanist minister Chris May.
He told the congregation of a devoted dad and a 6ft 5ins ‘gentle giant,’ who was loved by many.
“Today we celebrate Lee, the gentle giant, the honest loving lad, who would be there for you like a shot,” he said. “Please remember the good times you shared with him, for his love stays with you. “Be proud of him, tell his stories and most of all hold on to those memories of the good times.
“For life may end, but love never dies.”
During the service a poem written by one of Lee’s brothers was read out, which carried the sentiment ‘his soul will live on.’
Those gathered then heard highlights of Lee’s life, from his love of the outdoors and motorbikes, to the time spent with dear friends and the moment he met his partner Adele Gale, 33, before going on to have his family.
Lee’s friends and family were then asked to remember the happy times they shared with him, before members of the congregation had the chance to lay roses on his coffin.
Closing the service, Coldplay and The Chainsmokers song ‘Something Just Like This’ was played, while those gathered watched a photo montage of his life.
On leaving the building, donations were made to a trust fund for Lee’s four-year-old daughter, Millie.
Lee leaves behind his partner, Adele Gale, stepson Bailey, 14, daughter, Millie, mum Lynn Metcalf, 55, stepdad Colin and brothers Scott and Chad.