Family of South Tyneside musician who died following drug addiction saving lives in his memory

Peter Whale, who was 29 when he died in June 2022 Credit: Family handout

The family of a South Tyneside singer who died following an addiction to cocaine says his legacy in saving and changing the lives of other addicts and their families.

Peter Whale, who took his own life in June 2022 had been battling a cocaine addiction, at his worst spending £250 a day on the drug.

In the weeks after his death his family revealed plans to set up a charity in his memory and said they wanted to educate people and the dangers of drug use and the devastation it can cause.

Now the family of the 29-year-old have just opened a pre-loved clothing shop in Sunderland to help raise funds for their charity, Smile The Peter Whale Foundation.

Peter Whale Credit: Family handout

It is helping to run weekly support groups for addicts and their families in South Shields, and has also just held its first retreat to Wales.

Craig Redman, 29, has been attending a support group run by the charity for seven months after reading about Peter's story on Facebook.

He said: "My partner comes every week. She gets a lot from it. It teaches you how to deal with an addict. I imagine it is not easy. It's like a lot of family that are in the same boat.

We sit and talk about how our week has been and try and give each other solutions. Seven months ago I was on the bottom and I didn't know where to go, didn't know where to turn. There is always someone that will come and just go for a coffee, a pepsi or a walk. Life is on the up now and I am seven-and-a-half months clean.

"It's mint what Peter's family have done. It's hard to get help and they are there when you need them."

Volunteer Craig Redman and John Whale at The Peter Whale Foundation Preloved Shop in Sunderland Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Mr Redman is now volunteering at the shop as he says he wants to give something back.

The support groups are based in South Shields and have around 50 people attend each week.

Peter's brother John, who helps run the groups, said: "It's amazing to know you're making a difference. People from the group constantly remind us how much of a difference we are making."

Peter Whale, John Whale and Louise Whale Credit: Family handout

The shop, which is based in the same building as the family's flooring business in Sunderland where Peter also worked, is helping to raise funds and was the idea of Mr Whale's sister-in-law Louise.

His mother Linda also volunteers at the shop three days a week.

John said: "We've just got back from a retreat with members from the support group and one of them said to us that it was amazing to see so many people have been broken for so long and laughing and smiling again."

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