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Mum's loving tribute to Gloucester man Martin Stokes

By The Citizen  |  Posted: March 02, 2014

  • Martin with son Bobby


HEARTBROKEN mother Tania Simmonds says she wants ‘something good’ to come out of her son Martin Stokes’ life after his tragic death in January.

The 30-year-old dad-of-one died days after an incident in Nettleton Road on January 13.

Mr Stokes had a 14-month old son with his girlfriend Roxanne Harris and was “very much a family man”.

But his mum Tania admits that her troubled son was “not whiter than white”.

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She said: “When he was young he decided he didn’t want to go to school any more. “He was the sort of person who looked up to role models, whether they were good or bad ones.

“At the time I was going through a divorce and I don’t think it helps. I wish we could have shown more of a united front as a family.

“Now I’m devastated to have lost my son. He was a very independent person and very much a family man. That’s how I want to remember him.

“He was happy, very friendly and he had lots of friends. If he had £2 in his pocket he’d give it away.”

Ms Simmonds said that bringing her son up in Hucclecote was difficult because it was a place with the ‘haves and have nots’.

But now she is determined not to let other young people go off the rails and she is backing Tredworth-based youth charity Increase The Peace in memory of her son by co-organising a fundraising event in April.

She said: “If we all get together and support Increase The Peace we can give hope to youngsters. They need somewhere to go and positive role models in their lives.

“I want something good to come out of Martin’s life. I can never get my son back but we can do something positive.”

But first she must say her last goodbye to her son when he is buried alongside his father Tony Stokes on March 11 at 2pm at Gloucester Cemetery and Crematorium. Tony died eight years ago from a brain tumour and more than 1,000 people attended his funeral.

Ms Simmonds said: “Martin will be laid to rest with him. There will be a line of honour which will bring the coffin in. Everybody wants to do their bit and he’s got some big, strapping friends to help out.”

Then, on April 6, a fundraiser at Coney Hill Rugby Club will raise funds for Increase The Peace and Franchay Hospital, in Bristol, where Martin was treated.

The event will run from noon until 4pm and there will be a sponsored head shave, car washing, cake sales and even a visit from animals from Gloucester City Farm.

Co-organiser Rachel Thomas, a friend of Mr Stokes, said: “We wanted to hold a fun community day for families in Martin’s memory.

“All the money raised will go toward Increase the Peace who do so much work with the community and the youths.

“By providing such facilities for youths the project keeps them going and gives them a focus.”

Tony Poole, 51, of Melbourne Street East in Gloucester, is charged with murdering Mr Stokes and will appear at Bristol Crown Court on April 20.

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