Tribute to 'best big brother' who adored his young siblings

Josh Maasdorp

Tributes have been paid to Josh Maasdorp, who died at the age of 21. - Credit: Emma Hitchcock

Suffolk mum wishes "someone would have listened" to her son before his tragic death, just five days after his 21st birthday.

The family of Josh Maasdorp (Sanpher), from Mildenhall, have paid tribute to a "kind and caring" man who adored his younger brother and sister, and had a passion for heavy metal and fashion.

Mr Maasdorp died on December 3, just days after his 21st birthday. He had left to go to the shops in the evening but did not return.

Suffolk man took own life after being 'let down' by services

Josh and his sister Willow, who he loved spending time with - Credit: Emma Hitchcock


His mum, Emma Hitchcock, said weeks before his death Mr Maasdorp told mental health services at he feared he was going take his own life, but tragically did not meet the criteria to receive hospital treatment, which she believes may have saved him. 

A spokesman for Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust said admission to hospital may be avoided if, after assessment, treatment in the community is the best option and where the individual is willing and able to engage with such treatment. 

Paying tribute, Ms Hitchcock said: "He was a very kind and caring person, he did always put others before himself.

"He absolutely adored his little sister, and she adored him. They used to spend a lot of quality time together. And he loved his brother very much."

Josh Maasdorp

Josh when he was growing up - Credit: Emma Hitchcock

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The 21-year-old was very music orientated, having recently bought himself a guitar to learn to play, even buying his four-year-old sister Willow a 'Frozen' themed guitar at the same time.

"He'd already bought her a Christmas present," his mum added. "That was his main love in his life, the love he had for his brother and sister. That's what kept him going really."

Josh worked at an embroidery company, which was a "good fit for him", as he was always quite into an alternative fashion style.

Josh Yugioh

Josh always had a very strong sense of his own fashion - Credit: Emma Hitchcock

Ms Hitchcock said her son had suffered with his mental health over several years. 

He moved back in with her before the pandemic and his mood picked up a lot, but over the last few months he "went downhill quite quickly".

After raising a decline in his mental health Mr Maasdorp reached out for support, and spoke to a crisis team. He said he had previously tried to take his own life and thought he wouldn't "make it to 25" without help.

Josh Maasdorp

Josh had already bought his sister a Christmas present - Credit: Emma Hitchcock

The music-lover had told his mum that he still didn't meet the criteria to receive hospital treatment and all they could offer him was well-being support.

She said: "They say ask for help and he did. He even told them he'd kill himself and he didn't get the  help he needed."

A visit to the illuminations at Ickworth Night Lights was their last outing together and they had a quiet celebration for his 21st birthday on November 29. 

Ms Hitchcock recalled how her son gave her a hug and told her he loved her despite not being a "huggy person".

She said for his younger siblings, especially his sister who he spoiled "the process is very difficult".

His mum added: "He was well liked by anyone who met him, he just didn't understand.

"I just wished somebody would have listened to him."

Emma Hitchcock

Kieran and Josh - Credit: Emma Hitchcock

Josh's brother Kieran said: "My brother Josh was the best big brother to me, he always gave me advice on life and the correct path I should take.

"When growing up and recently we loved to play Xbox together and shared our own music tastes to one another.

"I will miss our chats that will be no more. I feel lost and confused.

"I no longer have anyone to look up to but I know you are at peace and I will do him proud."

Suffolk mum says son let down by mental health services

Josh was a 'social butterfly' when he was younger - Credit: Emma Hitchcock

Diane Hull, chief nurse from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), said: “We encourage anyone who is experiencing a mental health crisis to contact the trained mental health professionals in our First Response Team on 0808 196 3494. The team are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” 

To help with funeral costs for the family visit:  

If you need help and support, call Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline 0808 196 3494 or the Samaritans on 116 123. Both services are available 24 hours 7 days a week.  You can also download the Stay Alive app on Apple & Android.