THE untimely death of a popular farm worker has left a Tyne Valley community in mourning.

Stu Sim was well known in Haydon Bridge, the village where he grew up and had many friends.

News of his sad passing spread quickly, and without seeking to be intrusive, villagers have rallied round in support of his family.

The many tributes, and messages of good will which have appeared on social media, are a credit to a tight-knit community.

Stu’s older brother Phil, a well-known teaching assistant and football coach, has spoken about the family’s loss with tremendous courage.

Within 48 hours of the tragedy, he publicly thanked each and every person who had offered words of comfort and support, at what he described as an “impossible time”.

He was quick to address the issue of mental health, and the “inner evils” which may have contributed to his brother’s death.

Despite his obvious personal grief, Phil was keen to offer advice to other people who may be suffering from emotional turmoil.

Using the power of social media, he has launched a campaign which encourages people to talk about their feelings. He stated that to reach out is not a sign of weakness, but one of strength and resilience.

Phil is encouraging people to talk, not only to their family and friends, but also to the Mind charity, which provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. It campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

It has often been said that it’s good to talk. In more recent years, much more awareness has been made of emotional wellbeing. We all have busy lives which carry much responsibility. As we remember Stu Sim, it is vital that we follow his brother’s lead.