Aaron Armstrong

Aaron was the youngest in the family, with an older brother and sister. His family said he was very loving and popular. From an early age he had a passion for sports, actively following Liverpool just as his brother and uncle did.  

From when Aaron was three, his family ran a pub and for eight years he could often be found with his cue waiting by the pool table for someone to come in so he could play against them. Woe betide anybody that thought they would be easy on him, moving a crate around the table so he was the correct height: he very rarely lost!

When he was a bit older he took part in county pool competitions rising to national level.  He also took up playing football, in goal, from eight years old playing every week, and had trials for Gillingham.  His love of golf came when he was 10 after the summer holidays were spent playing every day with a friend on a putting green. He went on to join a local club, playing in their A team.

Aaron (left), together with his family

His other passions were holidays and cooking. He worked in scaffolding and was one of the top earners in his company but somewhere along the way became addicted to gambling. His family thought his betting on football games every week was normal as all his friends did too.  He worked long hours every week and continued to participate in the three sports, his rent was paid on time on the flat he had with his girlfriend, until they split and the family became aware his gambling was causing money problems.

He gave up playing sport apart from golf and when he wasn’t playing golf he was consumed by gambling online. His family didn’t realise how bad it had become because he hid it with a continuous smile on his face, saying “I’m alright mum”.

The gambling was more noticeable in the last five months of his life. He wanted to stop but there was not a lot of available help at the time. Private counselling motivated him to stop after each session but that would not last with ongoing online availability.  Aaron took his life when his mum was out of the country. The family think he thought he was saving them from all the upset, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.  

Only after he’d taken his life did the extent of his gambling become apparent to his family, who saw the relentless emails and texts he was receiving daily offering him VIP status and free bets of anything up to £1000.

His mother Lesley said: “The gambling companies robbed me of my boy, robbed his brother and sister of their brother and robbed his nephew of an uncle.”