Christmas memories to live on after death of much-loved son

Beverley Bishop with her son Jess Fairweather on Cromer beach, where they had summer barbeques. Phot

Beverley Bishop with her son Jess Fairweather on Cromer beach, where they had summer barbeques. Photo: Beverley Bishop - Credit: Beverley Bishop

Christmas will never be the same for Beverley Bishop, whose son took his own life 14 months ago.

Beverley Bishop and her son Jess Fairweather, setting up a Christmas tree. Picture: Supplied by Beve

Beverley Bishop and her son Jess Fairweather, setting up a Christmas tree. Picture: Supplied by Beverley Bishop - Credit: Archant

But Mrs Bishop, from Cromer, said the memories her family had shared with Jess Fairweather would always live on in their hearts and minds.

She said: "Christmas was Jess's favourite time of year. He got so excited about it and he always took a lot of time to think about what presents he was going to buy for people.

"He used to decorate the Christmas tree until it was perfect and buy a new bauble for it each year."

Mrs Bishop said Jess always used to buy a gift for a child as part of Chapelfield shopping centre's Giving Tree, and also contributed to the Christmas shoebox appeal.

Beverley Bishop at the grave of her son, Jess Fairweather. Picture: Supplied by Bev Bishop

Beverley Bishop at the grave of her son, Jess Fairweather. Picture: Supplied by Bev Bishop - Credit: Archant


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Jess had just began studying law at the University of East Anglia when he died at the age of 20.

This year, Mrs Bishop made a 20-minute film about her relationship with her son and how she dealt with his death called Five Days to Say Goodbye.

The film had its first public screening at the Norwich Puppet Theatre in October, on the anniversary of his death.

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Mrs Bishop said the film drew on a range of emotions, and it was met with a "powerful reception" by the audience.

A Christmas tree and portrait of Beverley Bishop and her son, Jess Fairweather. Picture: Supplied by

A Christmas tree and portrait of Beverley Bishop and her son, Jess Fairweather. Picture: Supplied by Beverley Bishop - Credit: Archant

She said: "A lot of people said they loved the humour in it, and that was a big part of our relationship. Some people said there were things in it they'd thought about saying to their children and hadn't, but they will now.

"It's sad and powerful, but in the end I hope it's quite uplifting. "

Mrs Bishop said she now wanted to have screenings with Five Days to Say Goodbye with different groups, followed by open discussions about mental health and dealing with grief.

She said: "They tend to be taboo subjects which get pushed under the carpet. But we will all have to deal with grief at some point in our lives, and we all come to deal with it differently."

Beverley Bishop hes made a film called Five days to say goodbye following the death of her son, Jess

Beverley Bishop hes made a film called Five days to say goodbye following the death of her son, Jess Fairweather. Picture: Provided by Beverley Bishop - Credit: Archant

Norfolk Bluebell Woods, where Jess is buried, has offered itself as a venue for screening in order to promote awareness of bereavement and the support services. The University of East Anglia has also agreed to a screening.

Anyone interested in learning more about the film or organising a screening can contact Mrs Bishop via the website www.beverleybishop.co.uk/5-days-to-say-goodbye, or email bishop_bev@hotmail.com.

At the grave of Jess Fairweather at Christmas. Picture: Supplied by Beverley Bishop

At the grave of Jess Fairweather at Christmas. Picture: Supplied by Beverley Bishop - Credit: Archant

Jess Fairweather, who died in 2017, picking out a Christmas tree. Picture: Supplied by Beverley Bish

Jess Fairweather, who died in 2017, picking out a Christmas tree. Picture: Supplied by Beverley Bishop - Credit: Archant

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