THE twin brother of a Witney dad who took his own life has opened up about the events that led to his death.

Oliver Cousins – affectionately known as Oli – lost his after being hit by a train on January 4, 2020, aged just 32.

His identical twin brother Scott said the pair had to deal with their mum being diagnosed with terminal cancer and the death of their cousin, on top of Oli’s own mental health problems.

Now though, more than a year later, Mr Cousins says there are positives to be taken – including a charity football tournament in his brother’s honour.

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Mr Cousins said: “Oli was a very unique and sensitive person – my goal is to preserve his legacy – and I feel him every day.”

Speaking about his mother’s cancer diagnosis, he added: “We were told in August 2019 that our mum had metastatic secondary breast cancer, after having breast cancer in 2013.

“It was such a relief when she overcame that in 2014, but then we got the dreadful news.

“In October, we also lost our cousin Henry, who was only 30.

“Oli had that grief and the anticipatory grief for our mum, and he felt like he couldn’t talk about it.

“You’ve got grief where you’re already there and you know what’s happened, but the anticipatory grief with our mum, she was given two months to live and Oli was anticipating there was going to be grief.

“Oli was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult but this was something extremely minor – he was able to give his undivided attention towards helping others, a unique gift he was blessed with alongside his vibrant and colourful personality.”

Scott and Oli Cousins. Picture provided by family

Scott and Oli Cousins. Picture provided by family

Describing the deaths of his brother, mum and cousin, Mr Cousins said: “It was a nightmare, your whole life goes upside down, and a part of me died.

“It was so surreal, it was complete and utter devastation.

“One of the hardest things about it was that with the lockdown coming not long after my mum died, we couldn’t see family members or have a proper funeral for her, so we didn’t grieve properly.”

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However, Mr Cousins has joined up with mental health charity, the Lions Barber Collective, to organise a football tournament this summer in memory of his brother.

“The goal of the tournament is to raise awareness of mental health, particularly within men, and for men to speak up and spot the signs of depression,” Mr Cousins said.

“The mind is invisible but it comes out with facial expressions and body language, and it’s about spotting those signs.

“The twenty-first century man is changing – it was seen as a weakness to open up, but now we’re more sensitive and aware.

“Oli felt like he couldn’t talk about his grief but the charity provides a place for men to talk, and my message is if you feel like you can’t talk, there are charities out there that listen.”

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Mr Cousins is open and frank about his own problems, but hopes he can raise awareness for such an important issue.

“I’m still grieving for my mum, and then with Oli, there was the shock of no longer having my twin brother,” he said.

“Some days I really struggle to cope and with time, I hope it gets easier.

“I ask myself what Oli would want me to do, and doing this and trying to get other men to open up is what he would want.

“There are positives to come out of this, and keeping Oli’s legacy, and raising awareness for grief, cancer and mental health is one.”

Anyone struggling with their mental health or having suicidal thoughts can seek help from charities such as the Samaritans – call 116 123.