Donations will create a memorial for Mark

Mark Reynolds (second from the left) with his family.
Mark Reynolds (second from the left) with his family.

Caring mourners have helped a family give their son the send off they wanted.

And thanks to the generosity of strangers, they are also planning to create a lasting memory to their son Mark Reynolds.

The 23-year-old was admitted to North Tyneside General Hospital with pneumonia but passed away on April 30.

His mother, Debbie Gray, of Howdon, was concerned she would not be able to pay the £4,000 funeral bill, that was until her daughter Sophie Reynolds and stepdaughter Tara Stephenson stepped in to set up a JustGiving page.

Within days, more than £1,000 had been raised and donations are still coming in.

Tara, 26, said: “We wanted a small donation to go to the cost of Mark’s funeral but we exceeded that and have been overwhelmed by it all.

“We didn’t realise Mark was ill. He went into hospital when he was poorly but we never exected that to happen.

“Mark was such a lovely person, I don’t know anyone who had a bad thing to say about him.

“He was so nice, he would do anything for anyone.

“He suffered from mental health problems then for this to happen has hit everyone hard.

“Everyone he went to school with has said he was gentle and kind. He was a good friend and a lovely brother.”

Additional money raised will now be used to create a memorial garden for Mark and a bench.

Tara added: “We want to create a memorial to Mark.

“We thought it would be nice to create a garden and then buy a bench for it.”

Popular Mark, who suffered from schizophrenia, was given a big send-off at his funeral at St Mary’s Church, Howdon, on Tuesday followed by a cremation at West Road Crematorium.

At the wake at Wallsend Labour Club, 50 balloons were released.

A donation box was also at the funeral to raise money for the mental health charity Mind.

Tara said: “We want to express how grateful we are to everybody who has made a donation. It means a lot to get this much support.”

Mark also leaves dad Mark Reynolds, sisters Siobhan, 27, and Chloe ten, brothers Karl, 25, and Dane, 14, as well as stepbrother James and half-sister and half-brother Jasmine, 14, and Josh, nine.

To donate to the fund, visit