Charlie Waller was a strong, funny, popular, good-looking and kind young man, with a close and loving family. He was the life and soul of every party, a talented actor with a mesmerising stage presence and a formidable rugby player. He was also flying high in his chosen career in advertising. To the outside world, he had everything to live for.
Yet in September 1997, at the age of 28, Charlie took his own life. He was suffering from depression and felt he no longer had the strength to carry on.
Shortly afterwards, in response to this tragedy, his family founded the Charlie Waller Trust. This was at a time when depression and mental health were significantly less well understood and talked about than they are today.
Their mission was to open up the conversation around depression, to ensure that young people are able to understand and look after their own mental health and to spot the signs in others, and know how and where to access help. They were determined that Charlie’s death would not be in vain.
We still regularly meet and hear from people who knew and loved Charlie. His death had an impact which continues to affect them all.
However, through the Trust, its impact has also been to benefit tens of thousands of young people, by improving their understanding of mental health and wellbeing, by giving people around them the knowledge and skills to support them, and by arming them with greater confidence in talking openly about the subject.
A close friend of the Wallers' and now one of our trustees, Mark Durden-Smith, said this of Charlie:
“He had an amazing ability to giggle, was a very special human being, and had a really exceptional character with a big heart; he was absolutely on fire a lot of the time - he could genuinely hold everybody with wrapt attention…He was a creative soul, a sensitive soul; for someone so big and brawny, you’d think different; but he had so many different layers to him.”
The Charlie Waller Trust
The Charlie Waller Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales 1109984. A company limited by guarantee. Registered company in England and Wales 5447902. Registered address: The Charlie Waller Trust, First Floor, 23 Kingfisher Court, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 5SJ.
Copyright © 2023 The Charlie Waller Trust. All rights reserved.