‘Will was so loved and missed by us all’

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A family of a teenager who took his own life have spoken of their devastation and heartbreak.

Eighteen-year-old William Bowley who lived with his parents at Keeper’s Cottage, Broadgreen in Cheveley, hanged himself in woods close to the family’s home in October last year.

At an inquest held in Chatteris on Wednesday, coroner William Morris concluded he had taken his own life and expressed his sadness that “a very young man indeed had died.”

Although he left a lengthy note for his family and friends they are still at a loss to understand why William had felt desperate enough to take his own life.

This week, four months after the tragedy, William’s mother Joanne and one of his two sisters, Rebecca, spoke publicly for the first time about the nightmare of his loss and the slow and painful journey they are trying to make to understand what happened.

“You go back over everything in your mind, again and and again wondering desperately if there was something more we could have done to prevent it,” said Joanne.

“And I suppose part of you blames yourself for not being able to stop your child from succumbing to a moment of madness.

“Will was friendly, loving , generous and always smiling, that is just what he was like, but he was also quiet and sensitive. He loved his family so much and he knew how much we loved him. We just don’t know, and never will, why that was not enough.”

A former pupil at Cheveley Primary School and Bottisham Village College, William had been a student at West Suffolk College but had left his course. He had told his mother he had been concerned about an altercation involving another student at the bus stop he used.

On the morning he died he had been due to start a residential apprenticeship course at the National Stud in Newmarket. “He was really pleased to get in,” said Joanne. “When he came out of the interview I remember him saying it was the best interview he had ever done.”

William had previous experience of stud work, doing some part-time work for Juddmonte Farms and helping his father, Rob, stallion man at Banstead Manor Stud where he is in charge of Frankel.

“When there was all the media coverage of Frankel arriving at the stud, William was so proud of his dad,” said Joanne. “He wanted to try stud work as a career but we always told him if it didn’t work out he could do something else, it didn’t matter.

“In his note he said he had always dreamed of being an actor which is something he had never mentioned to us and I wish he had.”

Joanne was the last person to see William alive and it was her husband who had found him.

Together they held their son and desperately tried to revive him but knew he had gone. “It is something no parent should ever have to face and it will be with us for the rest of our lives,” said Joanne. “Will was so loved and he is missed by us all more than words can say.”

Now all the family, which includes William’s eldest sister, Madeline, have is their memories of a bright and kind young man who brought something special to their lives.

“You just don’t realise how much you miss someone until they are gone,” said Joanne.