A bright, lov­ing busi­ness owner, Carl’s life was about to change for­ever...

Pick Me Up! Special - - Real Life Slim-credible - Julie Ayres, 51, Farn­bor­ough, Hamp­shire

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Ev­ery mum thinks their son is good as gold. And I was no dif­fer­ent. My Carl, now 30, had it all. Hard-work­ing and bright, he had loads of pals and his own flat near mine and his dad Gary’s home in Farn­bor­ough, Hamp­shire.

He owned his own dig­ging com­pany, too.

Even in the dead of win­ter – with rain ham­mer­ing down on the roof – he’d be out­side. ‘I’m so proud of you,’ I’d tell him. Over­alls on, swig­ging a cuppa, he was full of life. A Royal Marine as a lad, fit­ness was im­por­tant to Carl. ‘I don’t know how you do it,’ I’d re­mark, as he pulled on his train­ers for a five-mile run. ‘Easy as pie,’ he’d scoff. Home-lov­ing, too, think­ing back to the win­ter of 2014, I re­mem­ber how he loved vis­it­ing me and Gary, 57. As the wind howled out­side, he’d be wrapped in a fleecy blan­ket, telling us, ‘I love be­ing with you lot.’ He even came over that New Year’s Eve. ‘Hang­ing with the oldies,’ he said, snig­ger­ing. But his phone was con­stantly buzzing. You’re miss­ing a great night down the pub. Even­tu­ally, he re­lented. ‘I’m off out, Mum and Dad,’ he said. ‘Won’t be a heavy one, though.’ At mid­night he phoned. ‘Happy New Year Mum,’ he yelled. ‘Love you

We had al­ways brought the kids up to be an­tidrugs

My lad works hard in re­hab

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