AN EX-SOLDIER believed to have killed himself because he could not find work is the latest victim of the credit crunch.
John Riley, 25, was found hanging at his home in Alexandra Close, Clayton-le-Moors, on Sunday by his devastated dad Mick, who told of how he used to visit Blackburn Jobcentre nearly every day.
Mr Riley, of Roe Greave Road, Oswaldtwistle, said: "I blame the fact he struggled for more than a year to find a job and had to survive off £43 a week.
"How can anyone be expected to put a roof over their head and food on the table with just £43?
"He even offered to work for just £3 an hour, well below the minimum wage, but could find no takers.
"I last saw John last Thursday when I took him to the Jobcentre, where he went most days, and he seemed fine.
"I knew something was up though when I couldn’t get hold of him on Friday and Saturday. I must have rung him more than 20 times, then I decided to go round.
"When I got to his flat the front door was unlocked. I went in and shouted his name and then found him at the top of the stairs.
"I keep reliving seeing him there.
"He was the sort of person who would do anything for anyone. I just can’t believe he has gone."
The former Hollins Technology College pupil had left the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment at the end of his two-year training course to find a career closer to his family.
Things were made worse for him when he was forced to move away from his family network in Oswaldtwistle as the only place he could find a flat was in Clayton.
Mr Riley thinks his son’s situation had sunk as low as it possibly could before his death.
He said: "When I found John he had no gas or electricity and all his food cupboards were bare. He didn’t even have a box of cereal in the kitchen.
"I don’t know why he didn’t ask for help, I suppose it was his pride. He used to walk from Clayton to Oswaldtwistle every day to visit his family and get his tea. I just think he must have had enough. He was so desperate for work.
"He was a big animal lover and he found it really difficult when he had to give up his dog because he couldn’t afford to feed it anymore."
News of his death has hit his family hard as they are still trying to come to terms with the death of his uncle, Steven Hammond, who also hanged himself in March 2006.
Latest figures show nearly 2,000 people in Hyndburn are unemployed, compared to 786 at the same time last year, and three per cent of the population are claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance.
Kirsty Lyon, mental health development specialist for NHS East Lancashire, said: "This is obviously a tragedy for all concerned. We do everything we can to avoid this kind of outcome.
"We have set up a project designed to reach out to young men, particularly between the ages of 15 to 35, and encourage them to seek support and help."
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) has the motto Being Silent Isn’t Being Strong and encourages young men to use all available support to help them during periods of difficulty. It can be contacted by logging on to www.thecalmzone.net
John leaves a large extended family including his dad and his partner Ann Shorrock, his mum Elaine and her partner John, younger brother David, 23, stepsister Nicola, 32, niece Amber, four, grandparents, aunts and uncles and friend Tony.
He will be cremated at Accrington on Tuesday following a humanist service conducted by Eddie Joyce.