AN unemployed 20-year-old gardener desperate for work killed himself after he was left “demoralised” by hours of form-filling at the job centre.
Martin Hadfield, from Tottington, was so keen to get a job he refused to claim any welfare handouts and applied for up to 40 posts in the space of three months. But he failed to get responses on almost every application.
Just 24 hours after a meeting where job centre staff invited him to a “follow-up” meeting, Martin was found hanged at his flat in Market Street in July last year.
Following an inquest held in Heywood on Monday into his death, Martin’s stepfather Peter O’Gorman, aged 47, a car valeter, said: “Martin was obviously never a statistic to us, but in the last months of his life he became a statistic to other people.
“He was a statistic by being out of work, a statistic when he went into the job centre and now he a statistic by killing himself.
“Sadly this statistic seems to be growing especially in boys Martin’s age who are struggling in the current climate, or struggling with life and they forget to think about talking to someone.
“Martin was the kind of guy who was industrious, but too proud to tell us if anything was wrong.
“On the day he died his mum gave him some money for the bus home and instead he walked the five miles home and saved it for something important.
"That was the kind of boy he was, hard-working and with so much potential.
“Martin never claimed any money or benefits in his life — as parents we could help him out until he got on his feet. He got nothing from the Government and was proud not to.”
Martin, originally from Greenoch in Scotland, left school with GCSEs and after helping his stepfather valet cars, got a job as a landscape gardener and achieved NVQ qualifications.
But in April last year he lost his job due to the firm down-sizing.
Mr O’Gorman added: “Martin was a real hard grafter. He hated being out of work or sitting at home doing nothing.
“If he could have worked seven days a week he would have. After he lost his job he was searching for work and had been waiting on phone calls back from all the applications he sent out. It just seemed firms wanted to hire younger workers for lower wages.
“If there was a younger lad, with nowhere near the flair or experience of Martin, who cost just a tenner, he would get the job. Martin was heartbroken by it and heartbroken everytime he walked passed the gardens he used to tend and see them in disrepair. He took such pride in his work.
“He applied for a load of jobs in the time he was out of work. At least 30 or 40 jobs. His dad and sister would help him with his CV too. He wasn’t fussy, he would have taken anything just to be working and on the employment ladder.
“He hated the idea of going to the job centre because he had heard what so many other his age had said. Many people go in with a sense of self-worth — they really do want a job — but come out feeling demoralised and put down.”
Martin’s mother Annie O’Gorman, aged 50, a former prison officer said: “Martin was just a regular boy and he just didn't think to talk to someone about what he was going through. It was just a tragic moment of madness.”
The inquest heard Martin was discovered at 5.40pm on July 2, 2013, by his flatmate Stuart Evans when he came home from work.
Mr Evans, aged 20, told the inquest: "He was a very close friend of mine. In those two or three months out of work I could see him getting more and more fed up as you would expect anyone to.”
Recording a verdict of suicide, coroner Simon Nelson said: “Martin was clearly very highly thought of and these are fine attributes indeed.
“It may well be a moment of madness — but I feel sure he intended the consequences of his actions.
“Young men in particular tend to act or react impulsively to life’s events. The way of trying to come to terms with life’s events is talking it through — even if you do not realise it at the time.”