Words from Barry & Gill, Dan’s Parents 

We have been asked to put some words together to tell you about Dan. Not too difficult you may think.  Well how do we put everything we feel for Dan, the love, the memories, the laughter, the sheer devastation of losing him, the ache in our hearts, into a few paragraphs?  Quite simply, we can’t.  Our worlds collapsed on the evening of 12th September 2016.

Dan was extremely disciplined from a very young age; it wasn’t something we taught him, it just came naturally to him.  This stood him in good stead, not only as he went through academia but also as he progressed in the world of football. 

From the age of two, Dan always seemed to have a football at his feet. When he was ten, he joined Hull City AFC and when he was 16, he earned a two year youth scholarship.  Throughout though, he maintained his education, excelling at school.  At 18, he was offered a professional contract; he didn’t stop smiling for a month!  He loved every minute of his pro time but when nothing followed, and because he had maintained his studies, he successfully got a place at Loughborough University.  With the restraints of professional football off, he thoroughly enjoyed the Uni life, but he still maintained his athletic fitness levels and excellent nutrition. 

He was a fun guy, very popular and everyone wanted to be his friend.  He was respectful and kind; he hated injustices.  He was his own person, a leader, not a follower. He was calm and considerate and always assessed a situation before making a decision.  He was a ‘doer’, he couldn’t sit still. He had a wicked sense of humour and liked nothing more than lovingly winding-up friends and family.  If he wasn’t playing a prank on us, he was devising new ways to surprise the people close to him.  The people he loved.  And how he loved them!  Parents like nothing more than to know that their children are friends, are there for each other, look out for each other.   Dan and his sister Helen along with her partner, Sam, had a very close relationship.  Helen and Sam have been left totally shattered.

For a few short weeks, it seemed Dan had it all.  He had just graduated with an honours degree in Accountancy and Financial Management.  He had started his career to become a Chartered Accountant at Barber, Harrison and Platt in Sheffield, a firm he knew he was going to enjoy working for.  At Shaw Lane AFC, he had found the club where he wanted to play his football.  He was with Lauren, the love of his life and they had moved into a beautiful apartment in Sheffield.  They loved their first home.  Heartbreakingly, they only lived there for three weeks when tragedy struck.

Since Dan’s passing, we have been utterly astounded at the sheer number of wonderful comments that we have received.  We are amazed at how much Dan seemed to cram into every day.  Many people have told us that he always had time for them, whatever he was doing, if they needed a chat or some help; he was always there for them. “When Dan walked into a room, it was a happy room and we knew everything was going to be alright” one of his friends told us.

Words cannot describe the hole that has been left in our lives.  Our wish would be that no-one else would have to lose a child; obviously, we know we cannot save the world but maybe through the Foundation, we can make a difference to at least one family and spare them the total devastation that losing a child causes.

Words from Lauren, Dan’s Girlfriend

Dan was the most dedicated and disciplined person I’ve ever met.  Whatever he did, he did it with a seriousness and passion.  This was especially true when it came to his University degree and his football. Dan had time for everyone, from his loved friends and family, to the friends he made wherever he played football and to everybody else who encountered him.  With this seriousness was also the biggest sense of fun, silliness and laughter.  Dan knew how to have fun and make people laugh, every day that passes he makes me smile when I remember something funny he either said or did.  Dan will forever be the love and light in my life, I am so lucky to have met and fallen in love with him.  He was an incredibly special person and his memory will be what will endure as a force of good and hope for years to come.

Words from Helen, Dan’s Sister

People often say “there are no words” but that is truly how I feel.  How can you put into words that your ‘little’ brother, your close friend and ally has gone?  Dan and I had a typical sibling relationship growing up.  Teasing each other, blaming each other for silly things, but we never really fell out and as we grew up we became very close.  We started going out together socially.  Because Dan played for Hull City, he would get me into VIP areas of local clubs!  We started going to the gym together, not that I could ever train as hard as he did!  More recently, Sam and I spent some lovely weekends with Dan and Lauren.  He truly had everything he wanted. He had met the love of his life, he was about to start his career.  The last weekend we spent with Dan he discussed his ‘5-year-plan’ in detail with Sam.  He had everything mapped out.  No-one would have ever predicted that awful night when we lost one of the best!  I am repeating what many people have said but Dan really did live life to the full and he packed so much into every day.  He put 110% into everything he did with a huge smile on his face.

This is how we should all live; have no regrets and take every opportunity that comes our way because, quite honestly, life is too short!  #doitfordan