Crowds lined the streets of Aboyne today to offer a poignant farewell to a teenager who took his own life due to the pressures of lockdown.
This week the parents of Corey Liversedge, who was 16, bravely spoke out about the struggles he had been facing in recent months.
They hope sharing their story can help other families to prevent similar tragedies.
Corey died on October 24 and his funeral was held in Aboyne in the afternoon.
A cortege made its way through the village on its journey to Baldarroch Crematorium in Crathes, with dozens of people turning out to pay their respects.
Silence fell over the village as individual groups stood together, often hand-in-hand, under the blue skies and autumn leaves.
Traffic stopped and held back out of respect while his family walked by all those who had gathered to say goodbye to Corey.
This included groups of school friends still in their Aboyne Academy uniforms, as well as couples, families and other figures from the area who had all been involved in the teenager’s life.
Lorraine Scott, head teacher at the Aberdeenshire school, said: “Corey’s passing has impacted hugely on our close-knit community.
“He was an extremely intelligent boy with a real passion for geography in particular and he had great sporting ability too.
“He is sorely missed by all who knew him and we are continuing to provide support to our school community.
“We would encourage anyone who needs some extra help to please speak up.
“Our thoughts are with Corey’s family, and we are pleased to see his legacy recognised through the ongoing fundraising campaign.”
Corey’s mum and dad described him as “funny and kind” with a “cracking sense of humour.”
The youngster was a keen athlete as well, having competed in swimming at a national level and reaching the summits of 40 Munros.
But mum Kerry, who teaches at Aboyne Academy, said he found the impact of the coronavirus pandemic hard, adding: “He spent a lot of his time not doing as much activity as he normally did, and I think the time away from his friends was one of the hardest bits.
“He’s not one for Facebook or WhatsApp or anything like that, so he didn’t have that.
“So that break in the connection with his mates was tough.”
She is urging parents to “be careful” and speak to their children about the issues they may be struggling with privately.
“The teenage years are really tough,” she added.
“Kids are prickly and one second they love you and the next they can push you away.
“But tell them you love them every night, and tell them that you’re proud of them and keep those lines of communication open.
“Encourage them to talk — if not to you, then to their friends, teachers, or Childline, or anybody.
“They just need to let it out, and not internalise things they can’t understand as a kid.
“It’s not just children with diagnosed mental health conditions — it can happen to any child, and Corey was any child.”
Corey’s dad Adam, who is also a teacher, said: “He was an intelligent boy who was functioning well, and things were going okay prior to the lockdown.
“Everyone dealt with Covid-19 in different ways.
“I can say with 100% certainty that we would still have our son today if it had not been for lockdown.
“We just didn’t see it coming at all. Corey didn’t get the chance to live the life he should have had.
“He did do a lot with his life, he did amazing things, he’s been up mountains, he’s been skiing, he was such an accomplished swimmer.
“It’s the why, that’s the question. We will never know the why.”