Family pay tribute after tragic death of Sunderland mum, 33, following lockdown struggles
The heartbroken family and friends of a Sunderland mum have said they hope to honour her memory by urging others to find help when they are struggling.
Charlene Mallin, from Fulwell, died earlier this month aged just 33.
The “bright and bubbly” mum worked at Martino’s in Seaburn and was passionate about fitness, sometimes joining in two Skinny Pigs classes a day.
Her family believe she took her own life, though a coroner’s investigation is yet to conclude.
It is thought the impact of the coronavirus lockdown increased her mental health struggles, as she loved to spend time with others and was grieving for her grandparents.
Now, as they deal with the tragic loss of the former St Benet’s RC Primary School, Fulwell Junior School and Monkwearmouth Academy pupil, they have set up a fund to support her children, Joseph Mallin, 12, and Olivia Oxley, three, and her mum Gillian Mallin, 52, from Fulwell.
Charlene’s cousin Monica Trimble, 30, also from Fulwell, said on behalf of her family: “Charlene had been struggling with some issues but had been working extremely hard to build a really bright future for her and her children.
“Her friends are concerned about the effect which the lockdown played in her struggle; they feel that not being able to exercise and socialise with her friends may have further impacted her mental health.
"I had become really close to her in the past few months.
"We spoke about the future and how she’d like to support her children and give them the best prospects that she possibly could.
"Her friends talk about how caring she was; she was always asking about how their families were when she saw them.
"Inside she was really shy and sensitive and someone who just wanted to be loved.
"I really hope that we can honour her memory and learn lessons on the importance of caring – genuinely caring – for each other and looking after our mental health from this tragedy which has broken so many hearts.
"I’ll always cherish the memories I have of our childhood and the conversations we had over the last few months.
"I’ll always be sorry that the help I, and others, gave Charlene just wasn’t enough to make the dreams that she had for the future a reality.
“My comfort is in believing that she is at peace with our grandparents.
"Charlene’s legacy is her two beautiful children. They’ll be taught about her strength, her spirit and she’ll live on in them.”
The fund has been set up by Charlene’s childhood friend, Lydia Creswell, 32, a barber at Cattrick Garrison who serves in the TA.
She said: "She was my best friend growing up, we had the most beautiful childhood, never wanted for anything, going to the beach and sharing chips.
"But just because you’re always smiling, doesn’t mean you’re not struggling, and I hope by speaking about this, we can help others out there.”
Charlene’s funeral will be held at Sunderland Crematorium on Thursday, July 30, at 11.30am, with family flowers only.
Anyone who would like to add to the GoFundMe page in her memory can visit https://gf.me/u/yg85c4