Motorbike tribute to lead funeral procession for Sunderland dad Lee Downey
A motorcycle cavalcade will lead a funeral procession as mourners say their last farewells to Sunderland dad Lee Downey.
Friends of the ‘gentle giant’ will remember Lee’s love of motorbikes by riding at the head of Thursday’s procession as an emotional tribute.
The 35-year-old’s devastated family bravely spoke out about his mental health problems which sadly led him to take his own life.
The dad-of-two from Grindon Court, known as a ‘gentle giant’, 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.
Lee’s devastated mum Lynn Metcalf, 55, said the six coffin bearers - including Lee’s stepdad Colin, 54, brothers Scott, 27 and Chad, 23, and three friends - will don camouflage jackets to ride their bikes in front of the hearse, before changing into suits at Sunderland Crematorium to carry Lee in for the service.
Lynn said: “Lee absolutely loved motorbikes and riding. They all have their own bikes and used to go out together, so we thought it was a chance for them to ride out together as a last tribute to him.”
Lee, who leaves his partner, Adele Gale, 33, stepson, Bailey, 14 and daughter, four-year-old Millie, was hugely popular and his family have been innundated with messages of sympathy and support.
Lynn said her 6ft 5ins son loved nature and the outdoors and was happiest when he was out and about with his children.
She said: “I have been left with a huge void, I will miss him so much.”
The family said Lee had been struggling with depression and then things turned worse when he began hearing voices and was diagnosed with psychosis in January.
They said for the six months Lee became so ill, he was like a different person. He was in a terrible state of mind, hearing voices and thinking people were plotting against him.
Lynn said they have had a very positive response after speaking out in a bid to raise awareness of mental health,
The funeral service for Lee will be start at 1.30pm at Sunderland Crematorium and anyone who knew Lee is welcome to go along to say their goodbyes.
An inquest into his death is due to be held at Sunderland Coroner’s Court on Friday, May 19, at 10am.