In October 2019 a London coroner hearing evidence relating to Ant’s death reached a verdict of suicide with bipolar disorder as a contributory factor.
This section of the website is here to allow Ant’s family and friends to share their photos and describe how they feel (then and/or now) about not having Ant around.
If you would like to add your message to this section we would love to hear from you. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ant was a regular contributor to St Mungo's, a charity registered in England to help homeless people. We would like you to consider a donation to them in Ant’s memory and we may in future consider selling prints from the gallery to go to this cause.
I don’t know how to start to describe how I feel over the years since Ant died. In many ways it still does not seem real and in some situations, I refer to him as though nothing has happened. Most days there are little triggers that make me think of him and most of the time that makes me feel sad.
I changed when he died and I find myself doing things that would seem a bit mad. I buy his books all the time and occasionally I will give one to someone. I have a few tattoos that relate to Ant and I even enter running races in his name. I hope that when people meet me today, they get a little insight into Ant.
No-one will ever convince me that the decisions I made and the actions I took in the months leading up to his death were the right ones. Looking back, as his big brother, I feel that I had one chance to reach out and grab him but I missed and now he is gone.
I went to see him in the chapel of rest before his funeral. I wish I could talk to him, just occasionally like we used to. I respect the decision that he made but at the same time I wish he hadn’t decided to leave us. I miss him.
It is several years now since Ant died, and I still think about him at some time each day. I have a painting of him by my bed which my friend Hattie did for me, based on a photo I gave her, so he’s never far away.
Ant was such a huge part of my life in the last few years of his. We had such fun together. We had the same interests in art and nature and he taught me lots of things and showed me even more, on walks down Regent's Canal, in Finsbury Park, along the old railway to Highgate, through Epping Forest, around Hackney Wick and down Brick Lane. Places I might never have gone if Ant hadn’t shown me. He would also help me in the garden, or sometimes we would just sit and relax there in the evening sun.
I always felt gardening helped with Ant's mental health. My garden was practically designed by him; he helped me prune trees, propagate passion flowers and put up the trellising. I loved hostas, Ant loved ferns, and whenever I went to a garden show I would bring back a new fern to add to the collection and he would arrange them in an artistic way. I also got a rose for him to plant when I visited David Austin. It is called Jacqueline du Pre (or JDP for short) and is a very pretty white single rose with a pink centre and lovely fragrance. Ant was mad about JDP's music; he had nearly all her works and had studied her life in depth. I think of him every year when the rose flowers, each summer with a few more blooms.
The other artist Ant really liked was Nina Simone, and we would often listen to her if I went round to his flat. He also loved collecting things by well-known designers and had some lovely pieces which I always admired. His cooking was another thing I enjoyed; I think his most memorable dish was his tuna pasta, so simple and tasty. I remember he came over one night and taught me how to make a really good chicken and mushroom risotto which we ate together, one of many happy meals. It was such fun being with him because he had a wicked sense of humour. Always making me smile, always making me laugh.
Ant's photography was brilliant, and he introduced me to street art. I still go to Brick Lane were he shot a lot of his book East End Fashionistas. He was so clever with photoshop and very creative in everything he did.
I particularly miss Ant at Christmas and New Year. Before I started spending Christmas with my family, we would always have a meal at my house and exchange presents. At New Year, he would come over and we would have a meal and watch Later with Jools Holland and see the fireworks at Tower Bridge. The next day we would go up to Hampstead Heath and walk off the inevitable hangover.
I am sad because Ant is no longer here to share all these things with me. But I shall never regret knowing him for almost half his life. I miss him every day, but I think the best thing that has come from his death is that I’ve got to know his mother Pauline and brothers Jon and Graham, whom I didn't know before. Being in touch with them keeps Ant's memory alive, and I am grateful for their friendship just as I will always be grateful for his.
Ant and I became friends very early on after my move to London following university. We met through friends and I instantly loved his bright smile, warmth and humour. That’s what drew me to him initially. Our early friendship formed very much as part of the social good times out on the town where everyone was young (and beautiful). So many of these acquaintances came and went in those early London years. We were all starting out on new careers and I for one had to work out who I was. But Ant stuck…and over the years became to be a really fundamental part of my life.
He was a few years older than me and I definitely looked up to him and saw him as very worldly wise…in fact ‘wise’ was definitely a word I associated with him. He always seemed to know the right thing to say, especially when untangling affairs of the heart and living on the London scene. I could always rely on him to pick up the pieces or offer a reassuring word and perspective I hadn’t considered. It was all so very turbulent, as over dramatic youth tends to be, but Ant became my calm in the storm.
Years passed and our friendship developed and evolved. Sometimes we’d see loads of each other, we’d go away together or meet up for dinner and drinks. Then months could pass without so much as a text but whenever we would see each other again it was like no time had gone by and we’d be pick up where we left off.
He was always very open about his mental health issues but on reflection I think he only talked to me about them when he was out the other side of a dark patch. He would tell it to me like it was something interesting that happened to him and now, at least for a while, it was all OK again. It was something to accept and acknowledge but he would now put away. Maybe I could have dug more, maybe I could have listened better, maybe I could have said something else…I’ll never know and I have to live with that.
The last time I saw him we met for a coffee in one of his favourite spots just off Oxford Street. He spoke about his latest brush with his issues but was full of excitement for the future: potentially moving abroad, starting a new phase of his life in La Palma. I couldn’t stay long as I had a job interview (!) so my mind was distracted but as I left, I thought his spark had returned. That was just 5 months before he died.
Since then, life has inevitably moved on and the aching hole he left has numbed to a bruise. But he is never really far from my thoughts. He pops in to my head at the most random of times, completely without warning, and I find myself wondering what he would make of whatever I’m doing. It’s always a happy thought though and it feels like he’s just popped in to see me. Always with his impish grin, eyes sparking, and calling me what he always used to: “My Matty”.
This is going to be hard for me to write for only when a child dies does a mother experience emotions she has never experienced before – profound loss, grief, disbelief and forever questioning what she could have done to change things. That is a question which can never be answered but will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Ant was the 2nd of my three sons, born 16 months after Jon, 3 years before Gra – life was hectic but such fun. He was a cheeky, mischievous, extremely sensitive little boy. He loved nature, art, music and photography. He was an accomplished flautist and also played the piccolo and organ. In his later years he became a very deep thinker and had many books on philosophy. He had a vast collection of CDs including music by Nina Simone and Jacqueline du Pre, plus many classical albums. In later years, when troubled, he would seek solace in his photography and music, go for long walks in Epping Forest and attend Evensong at St. Paul’s Cathedral or Westminster Abbey.
Our interests were very similar, many happy hours being spent at Flea Markets, Antique Fairs and Auctions. Ant had a superb eye for ‘collectables’ even in his teens, and had an eclectic range of beautiful pieces including ceramics, art glass, religious artefacts and mid-century furniture. Many of these pieces are now in my home as well as art work which Ant did, for not only was he an extremely talented photographer, he was also a superb artist. When visiting me in Hereford we’d go off walking – one lovely day being spent in the Elan Valley, close to where I was born. Ant took numerous photographs while we were there, I have them all.
Ant moved to London in his late teens and worked at Sotheby’s as a Fine Art Photographer/Dark Room Printer.
He loved this work and decided to pursue photography/graphics as a career He gained a BA (Hons) Degree in Graphic Design at Central St. Martins and so his career began. Whilst undertaking photographic commissions, wherever he was in the world, he would always keep in touch. When he was photographing in and around Brick Lane for his last book, ‘East End Fashionistas’, he was so excited and would ring me several times a week. He was so happy.
I loved going to stay with him in London. We’d go to theatres, restaurants and art galleries: for long walks in and around Hampstead; walks along the Regent’s Canal, ending up in Camden Market. Over to Greenwich and the antiques market there. Walking through Islington, wandering along Camden Passage with its numerous antique shops. Such happy times.
I told Ant about the beautiful island of La Palma which he visited several times. He fell in love with all that it offered and was planning to live there. Sadly this was not to be. It’s an island I know very well: each time he was there he’d ring me, telling me where he was and we’d compare notes. I last went in March 2020 and Ant, I hope you don’t mind, I just wanted to feel I was with you again, in a place you loved.
Ant had carried the enormous burden of mental ill-health for many years. In the summer of 2018 he experienced an acute psychotic episode and was admitted to hospital under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act following which a diagnosis of bipolar disorder was made. On leaving hospital he was under the care of Healthcare Professionals. After an initial improvement he started to become depressed, a depression which became so profound he felt he couldn’t go on. In his note to us all he says he is sorry. Ant, I am the one who should be apologising because somewhere along a long and tortuous road my overwhelming feeling is that I failed you and I am so, so sorry.
I have lost a beautiful, gentle, talented, much troubled and often misunderstood son. The decision he made has changed this family forever but we respect this decision, for his life had become intolerable and could only be endured for so long. Ant, I love you. I miss you so much and think about you every single day.
I knew Ant all his life. He was the middle son of my best friend Pauline, whom I have known from the late 1960’s and consequently became lifelong friends. When he came into our world he already had an older brother, Jon, my Godson and latterly Gra, the youngest, came along.
As Ant grew up I knew him as a lovely boy, loving nature and the beauty of all things around him. We spent the school holidays in Guernsey in the Summer and my home in Anglesey during Easter time or during school breaks. I always remember his cheeky grin and his bright humour! Ant would be the one who ended up with the sand bucket on his head etc etc! Then he’d go off looking for butterflies.. that was him, funny, loving and kind.
I knew he was destined to be special. I was so proud of his career and his many faceted talents. There were so many things I remember regarding his various stages of growing up! We would have a deep and meaningful conversation about our “relationships” and then burst out laughing to finish it off!
Ant did more in his lifetime than most people. His books, art and photography will be with us, the people who loved him, forever. As will his recipe for tuna pasta!
So, in the words of that famous song “This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.”
I hope you have found peace.
Love you xx Glen.