WHEN Edward McEwan’s sisters remember the young Pollok dad, they picture their brother at his “cheeky chappy” best. Lighting up every room he walked into, showering his son with love, and always the joker in their pack. 

They also recall memories that make them laugh every time. 

“He genuinely thought he was a good singer,” said Lizzie, 31. “But he was terrible! 

“We have a video of him singing Robbie Williams’ Angels.” 

Carey Anne, 36, added: “He is in my house and he comes down with the guitar. 

“He told us it was his audition for the X-Factor and he was deadly serious!” 

Edward didn’t win the X-Factor, of course, but moments like this explain why those who knew him best still can’t believe he’s gone. 

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On February 21, he took his own life after struggling to get help for addiction and his mental health

“There is nothing worse in my life that could happen after this,” said his mum, Maureen. “It’s like someone has cut a hole in me, a void that is never going to fill up again.

“How I imagine he would have been as a daddy throughout his life, as a granddaddy, getting married. All these things you look forward to with your children. That’s not going to happen.”

Dad to Teddie, partner to Christie, and soon to be a father for the second time, Edward was just 28 when he passed away in his flat. 

“I spoke to him on the Friday night,” Carey Anne recalled of the day. “He had phoned me. We are a close family and speak a lot. On the Saturday, I got up and my sister said to me she had him on the phone all night. He was totally out of control. 

Glasgow Times: Edward with his son Teddie Edward with his son Teddie

“He told her he was going to sort himself out and go to be his bed. My brother did that. 

“He’d go to bed and you wouldn’t hear from him until the next day when he’d phone asking for a wee Just Eat or something.

“It was the Sunday night and his partner Christie phoned me. I just thought: ‘here we go, it’s Just Eat time’. But I could tell from her voice that something wasn’t right.

“She just kept crying and saying my name. He was dead.

“From that night, our world just fell apart.”

Tragically, several days later, the family found a note left by Edward,  in which he wrote that he was “not a bad person”, and that he loved his “son”. 

“He put all of his hopes and dreams in this letter he wrote,” says his mum. “That was his way of letting us know. He was a good person.”

His family – which also includes dad, Edward, and sisters Margaret, Donna, and Sharron – say the warning signs had been there. 

Glasgow Times: Edward with his partner Christie Edward with his partner Christie

Just two years before, he’d attempted to take his life for the first time and they believe he was tossed aside by those supposed to help him. 

“They were not interested one bit,” said Lizzie, who rushed him to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for treatment. “We can only do so much. We did what we thought was right.” 

“I think that was a wee cry for help,” added Carey Anne. “The door just shut on his face.”

Things didn’t improve when Edward began to struggle during the pandemic. His family did its best to be there for him, but he began to experience extreme lows, especially after losing his job at Silverburn Shopping Centre and amid pressure from his landlord over rent arrears. 

“It was a case of if he went to see one, they told him he had to sort out the other before they’d help,” said Carey Anne, a mum-of-two. “If he went to get help for his drug problem, they told him he had to sort out his mental health. 

“If he went to get help for his mental health, they told him he had to sort out his drug problem.”

His mum added: “When you come up against brick walls, you just don’t go back to them.

“To me, that’s what he came up against. 

“Everyone cries differently for help. We all do it.” 

The pain will never fade for Edward’s family but it will always have the memories of the former St Marnock’s and Lourdes Secondary pupil. 

“Celtic,” said Carey Anne. “They were his passion. So was fishing. When he went fishing, he was in another world. 

“He loved the kids. He’d sit down and play with them. He was the only one.

“He was actually a mascot for the Champions League when it was at Hampden. He even featured in the Evening Times.

Glasgow Times: Edward as featured in the Evening Times ahead of the Champions League final in 2002 Edward as featured in the Evening Times ahead of the Champions League final in 2002

“He’d never steal, he’d never insult you. He was always a happy go lucky person. 

“If you had met my brother, you’d think: ‘no way’. He would walk into a room and be the life and soul.

“We were proud of him. No matter what. Whatever he did, you couldn’t dislike him.”

His mum added: “He was always happy.

“He was up for anything and would try anything. He’d do anything for a pound... but never get it!”

“I am quite harsh and quite brutal,” Lizzie said. “But even he’d still make me laugh. 

“I’d be giving him into trouble and just couldn’t take him seriously.”

Today, as the Glasgow Times marks the launch of Mental Health Awareness Week, the family has chosen to speak out in a bid to help others in Edward’s position. No official figures are available, but a number of young people have taken their own lives in Glasgow’s South Side since the turn of the year.

For the McEwans – who marked his first birthday since his death on April 14 with the arrival of Sharron’s son Mikey – it’s a sign that more help has to be available at a local level. 

“There could be something like a wee drop-in centre,” said Carey Anne. “Anything like that. I have my son growing up now and I am scared for young boys. 

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“Is this the environment where they are having to grow up in because no one has come out to ask why it’s happening?

“There is nothing out there for young men. They have a problem saying that there is something not right and they aren’t okay.”

“The amount of young men in the South Side who have gone recently… it’s hard,” added his mum. “This is the biggest thing we have had to face with the NHS. 

“I don’t blame the staff but it’s the lack of funding that is the issue.

“We want our voice to be heard to help another family. He matters. 

“He might not be here to say that, but we will.” 

Carey Anne said: “It shouldn’t be at the point where we just accept this. 

“It used to be when this happened it was all over the news and all over the papers. Now people just seem to shrug and move on.”

An NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde spokesman said: “We would like to express our sincere condolences to the family of Mr McEwan as they continue to grieve his loss. 

“We are aware of the concerns of Mr McEwan’s family and we have invited them for a meeting to discuss the circumstances further.”

Next month, a group of Edward’s family and friends – coined Edwards’ Army – will climb Ben Nevis to raise money for Fass and Chriss House. To donate, visit here

If someone you know is struggling, here are some signs to look out for that show they might need help:

Feeling restless and agitated, angry and aggressive, tearful or being tired or lacking in energy

Not wanting to talk to or be with people or do things they usually enjoy, or finding it tough to cope with everyday things Using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings, or talking about feeling hopeless, worthless or helpless, or feeling trapped

Not replying to messages or being distant.

It can be tricky to start a conversation but there are ways to get talking:

The Samaritans say it’s okay to ask someone directly if they’re suicidal as research shows this helps. If they are uncomfortable and don’t want to open up, that’s okay too - you’ve let them know you’re there for them.

If they do want to talk then really listen. 

Good listening involves giving the person your full attention, being patient and repeating things back to them so they know you’re paying attention.

Where to get help:

You can suggest the person goes to their GP for advice and support

SAMH gives mental health information and can direct you to local services. Call 0141 530 1000 or email enquire@samh.org.uk

If you need to talk, call Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 or see www.breathingspace.scot

Families who need support after being bereaved by suicide can contact PETAL on 01698 324 502 or email info@petalsupport.com

Call Samaritans for free on 116 123 or email the charity at jo@samaritans.org.