The family of a man who died suddenly aged just 37 are battling to have a memorial bench installed in his favourite place near the coast.

Seb Patrick's family were devastated when he died of a heart attack in August last year, leaving behind his wife Jo and their five-year-old daughter, Lois.

The 37-year-old was a popular journalist and cultural commentator who wrote for and edited the official Red Dwarf website.

But he was also a family man who returned to Liverpool a few years ago to raise a family and be closer to his parents.

His sudden death left his parents and young family heartbroken and so it was their wish have a memorial bench installed near his favourite place on Crosby beach where he always took his daughter.

However, their application for the bench in their desired spot was rejected by Sefton Council who cited environmental factors as well as setting a precedent for having to allow more memorial bench requests at the coastal beauty spot

Sefton Council has said they are restricted in where they can give permission for memorial benches.

Seb's mum, Mary Patrick, 61, told the ECHO: "It might seem to people we're being very particular about this but it's all about the meaning of it and the importance of place.

"We don't have a grave, he was cremated, so we don't have a cemetery to go and visit.

"The sea was really important to us. Our flat is on the corner overlooking the beach and we would look out of the window and see him walk across that area of grass and he would either have Lois on his shoulders or she would be running next to him.

"He used to take Lois to the beach all the time and he used to take her to see the iron men. We've got so many photos."

The proposed site for the bench was an area of grassland between Mary's home and that of her late son's wife and young daughter.

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Mary added: "I understand where they're coming from in the sense that if they give us one then everybody will want one.

"On a practical level they said people would prefer it to be an open space, but living the way we have over the past year with the Covid situation and seeing how reliant people are with being able to go and sit outdoors and meet up with people.

"We're all walkers in our family but not everybody is as able as we are and I think it's doing a disservice to people who do want to walk but also need to sit down.

"There is so much space for seating, there's a little cluster by the coast guard hut and there's nothing elsewhere.

"We're not asking for the council to put the bill, we're more than happy to foot the bill."

If you have been affected by any of the details mentioned in this story there are people who can help you.

Most people grieve when they lose something or someone important to them.

The way grief affects you depends on lots of things, including what kind of loss you have suffered, your upbringing, your beliefs or religion, your age, your relationships, and your physical and mental health.

Grieving is a totally normal process but there are way to get help if you need support.

Your GP is a good place to start. They can give you advice about other support services, refer you to a counsellor, or prescribe medication if needed.

Or you can contact support organisations directly, such as Cruse Bereavement Care (0808 808 1677) Samaritans (116 123) or Love Jasmine.

Sefton Council did offer the Patrick family a number of alternative locations for a memorial bench but Mary said none of them had the same emotional connection to Seb.

She added: "They suggested Alexandra Park but none of us went there and another one was Southport. Those places mean nothing to us.

"It was the beach and being within striking distance of the iron men, that's what's important to us.

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" I just think one little bench where people can go and set and people can see his name, it would be like he was there with us to go and sit and talk with him.

"It would mean the world to Lois. For her to know that's her daddy's bench and that's their spot."

Mary said the family would continue to try and change Sefton Council to overturn their decision not to allow a bench near the beach.

They have also cited the council allowing a pop up bar and seating to be installed on the beach next month as an example of how there could reach some compromise in their decision.

Seb Patrick with his daughter, Lois, flying a kite at their favourite spot where the family wish to have a memorial bench put in place
Seb Patrick with his daughter, Lois, flying a kite at their favourite spot where the family wish to have a memorial bench put in place

A Sefton Council spokesperson said: “We do all that we can to support families who wish to dedicate benches in memory of loved ones and have locations available at the Seafront Gardens and Alexandra Park in Crosby, at Kings Gardens in Southport and many other parks and greenspaces across the Borough.

“We do recognise that specific sites hold special memories for some people and, as we have done in this case, we do consider each request and we hope to continue discussions with Mr Patrick’s family about finding a suitable location.

“We do try to provide alternative options as close as possible to people’s requests, when their preferred site isn’t suitable, but we are restricted in where we can give permission for memorial benches to be situated.

"Restrictions we can face include sensitive environmental factors along our unique coastline and the sometimes-harsh weather conditions that can make some locations impractical.”

They added: "The upcoming, temporary trial of a pop-up food and drink outlet near to Crosby’s Marine Lake is in response to regular feedback from visitors and residents, who feel there are not enough hospitality facilities along our coastline.

“This trial aims to balance ways that we can meet the needs of people enjoying our coastal spaces with strict environmental factors and community concerns, and we will be closely monitoring all elements to see how viable a more permanent option would be in the future.

“We would ask anyone who wants to provide feedback about the trial to get in touch with us by contacting our Green Sefton service by email at [email protected]