A woman who lost her husband to suicide says she spent years explaining the death to her young son.

Helen Mayall lost her husband Andy Mayall in 2014 when he was just 47 years old.

At the time the couple's son, Shaun Mayall, was only three and unable to truly understand the full gravity of what had happened to his father.

But now, six years on, Shaun has raised thousands of pounds for UK suicide bereavement charities, who will help countless others, as part of a fun run he has organised in memory of his dad.

Helen described the anguish of losing her husband as well as the journey she and Shaun have embarked on since.

"I can't even describe what the last few years have been like," Helen told CumbriaLive.

"It changes you for life, you're never the same person again, when you lose someone it's horrendous; awful.

"But when someone dies from suicide; it's almost like something so deep inside, right down to your soul, has just been wrenched away."

Andy Mayall took his own life in 2014.

On March 26, 2014, Andy, from Cockermouth, took his three-year-old son Shaun to nursery as he usually did, while his wife Helen was at work.

Andy would never return home.

The following day police arrived at the mum-of-one's home to inform her that Andy had taken his own life.

Helen's personal grief was insurmountable, her husband's death had come out of the blue.

She said: "I thought I knew my husband inside out but I had no idea what was going on in his head.

"He was my soulmate, my best friend, my rock, we had such a good open relationship.

"Never in a million years did I think he would do that."

Andy suffered with extreme anxiety and often had panic attacks but Helen had never seen in anything in her husband that suggested he would consider suicide.

Helen had the arduous task of talking to her three-year-old son about what had happened.

"When you have a child that young you have to tell them over, and over again," said Helen.

"You can't just tell them once and they will understand. Over the years I've had to explain so much to him.

"As Shaun got older he asked more questions, trying to understand, I had to keep reliving it.

"But I've always been very honest and open with Shaun, it's important to do that; we have a great relationship."

Through the charity Suicide Bereavement Support (SBS), Helen and Shaun have received support following Andy's death.

Late last year, on of Shaun's teachers at Fairfield Primary School, suggested that he did something in his father's memory.

Being a keen runner, Shaun, now aged 10, decided to organise a sponsored 10km run, dressed as his dad's favourite Beano character Dennis The Menace.

So far Shaun has raised more than £4,000 for bereavement charities.

The 10-year-old told LancsLive: "I didn't expect to raise that much money, I only set the fundraising at £101.

"I'm going to dress up as Dennis the Menace because my dad loved him and I thought, seeing as I'm doing the run for him, I thought I should dress up as something he liked.

"I'm raising money for SBS because I lost my dad through suicide and I thought I should help other people who are going through that stage in their life."

If you want to support Shaun's fundraising run, taking place this February, then you can visit his JustGiving page here.

The Samaritans is available 24/7 if you need to talk.

You can contact them for free by calling 116 123, email [email protected] or head to the website to find your nearest branch.

Papyrus also operates a helpline, open from 9am until midnight, 365 days a year. Anyone in need of help can call 0800 0684141.