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Great Yarmouth to hold memorial service for heritage enthusiast Leslie Cole who died at Tolhouse Museum

PUBLISHED: 13:54 06 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:27 06 November 2017

Leslie Cole at the top of the Nelson Monument in Great Yarmouth. Photo: Andy Darnell

Leslie Cole at the top of the Nelson Monument in Great Yarmouth. Photo: Andy Darnell

Archant © 2011

A history enthusiast who took his own life in a coastal museum will be celebrated at a town memorial service.

Leslie Cole, 60, from Campion Avenue in Gorleston, died in the dungeon of the Tolhouse Museum in Great Yarmouth - where he had worked for 11 years - on June 10.

His body was discovered by a museum colleague and there were no suspicious circumstances.

As well as working for Norfolk Museums Service he was a custodian and volunteer at the town’s Nelson Museum and led heritage tours around Yarmouth.

During the inquest on Monday, November 6 at Norfolk Coroner’s Court in Norwich, assistant coroner Johanna Thompson recorded a conclusion of suicide and said the cause of Mr Cole’s death was hanging.

Written witness statements from Mr Cole’s GP Dr David Ekbery, members of the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Crisis Resolution and Home Treatments Team, and James Paget University Hospital mental health professionals revealed Mr Cole had “severe depressive episodes” in 1999 and 2017.

The inquest heard he had been seen every day by members of the crisis team from March 30 until April 9 this year.

After the inquest, Yarmouth mayor Kerry Robinson-Payne, a Nelson Museum curator, said: “We hope to do a memorial service for him in the town as he was such a character.

“He was very sharp-witted with a dry sense of humour. He was very knowledgeable on all things history.

“There would always be a lot of laughs when he was around.”

Mr Cole grew up in Gorleston and did not have children or a partner.

He lived with his late mother and was taking medication for his anxiety and depression.

Dr Ekbery said the museum worker first experienced mental health problems after losing his council job. The condition was sparked again by his mother’s ill health.

He first saw Mr Cole on March 3 for anxiety and depression and regularly reviewed him until June 14 - the last time he saw him alive.

During that time Mr Cole took time off work and had attempted to overdose on medication.

After observing him on June 14, Dr Ekbery wrote: “He [Mr Cole] did appear to be making progress and the change in his clinical condition was very striking.”

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