Tragic mum’s vow for late son

Sheila Rothwell
Sheila Rothwell
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A DEFIANT mother has vowed to fight on in the name of her son.

Sheila Rothwell, the mother of Ian Foster who set himself on fire near North Pier in 2006 after being plagued by mental health problems, is planning on launching a public inquiry and says she will continue to raise awareness on the issue.

Ian Foster

Ian Foster

Mrs Rothwell, from Poulton, says she still feels questions need to be answered, despite an inquest into his death.

She told The Gazette: “I want a public inquiry because I think it’s the right road to go down.


“One part of me would just like to say that is that over with, but I can’t do it. It wouldn’t be right bearing in mind what has happened.”

Mr Foster, 28, from Lytham, died of his injuries three days after setting himself alight and Mrs Rothwell has maintained her son should have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act ahead of the incident and kept at the Parkwood unit of Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

He had already attempted to take his own life on a number of occasions and his behaviour had become threatening in the days leading up to the horrifying act.

And she has been encouraged by almost 60 messages of support left on The Gazette’s website, which she says have spurred her on to move past the inquest.

Mrs Rothwell added: “I felt alone after the inquest and isolated, but when people started writing on the site I thought ‘I’m right’.”

Mrs Rothwell said it was her duty as a mother to carry on the fight for answers.

She added: “If you had a child run over on the road you would spend your life campaigning to get the roads safer – that is what mothers do.

“Ian will be in heaven thinking my mum has fought for me and I will never ever let something go because it’s not in my nature.”

As well as the public inquiry, Mrs Rothwell is continuing to support other families through a group she has created on social networking website Facebook.

She will also attempt to raise awareness by staging regular events and hopes to complete a charity bike ride from London to Paris.

At the inquest into Mr Foster’s death last week, Blackpool coroner Anne Hind supported Mrs Rothwell’s claims health professionals had let her son down.

The coroner added: “The fears of Mrs Rothwell were correct.”