On Wednesday March 8th 2017, Danny walked in from work just after 4pm. He was his usual bright and happy self, we had a chat about what our day had been like, before he went down to his room which is a large cabin/annex down the garden. He appeared at the back door some ten minutes later with his gym kit as he was meeting a friend because they were “in training” to do the Nuclear Rush race in May. Danny’s idea of training was treadmill and sauna!! He breezed out of the door telling me he’d be back for dinner in about an hour or so. He returned home just before 6pm and took his German Shepherd dog, Luna for a walk and then came back and made his dinner. He sat eating, laughing and chatting with his stepdad about a surprise trip to Italy that had been booked for my 50th birthday on Saturday 11th, which we had a big party planned for in three days. Danny had only just celebrated his own 25th birthday, five days before on March 3rd. He finished his dinner and with a “see you later”, he wandered off down the garden, to his room to watch the football.
On Thursday 9th March, I packed my 12 year-old daughter off to school before taking my youngest son to a school sports event. I didn’t return home until just after 12pm after dropping him off at his primary school. Pulling up outside the house, I was surprised to see Danny’s company car still there. I walked into the house to find my other daughter in the kitchen, making her lunch to take to work. I asked her if Danny had gone to work on the train as his car was still outside. She said she hadn’t seen him at all. I looked down the garden at his cabin and suddenly became aware that I hadn’t had any texts or phone calls from him that morning. I usually would text him to check he was up and he’d respond with what time he had to be in work, this hadn’t happened on this day because I had left the house early.
Thinking this was not normal and something must be wrong, I started walking down the garden but broke into a run halfway down. I opened the door to Danny’s room and looked in to see him laying on his bed. He didn’t move as I stepped into the room and it took me a few seconds to take in that he still had the clothes on from the night before. He hadn’t gotten into bed, he was just peacefully positioned on it. His head was on the pillow but slightly turned, facing away from the door where I was still standing. His hands were resting up on his chest, his left leg on the bed but with his right foot just casually hanging over the edge. Everything stopped, I couldn’t understand what had happened. My precious boy had gone, my beautiful Danny had laid down, fell asleep and died.
Danny had grown from a cheeky, lovable and intelligent auburn haired little boy into the most popular, kind, loving, fun, and beautiful of adults. He was healthy and fit. He had a great job with an amazing career ahead of him. He truly was the most perfect, thoughtful and loving son, He was a protective and devoted brother to his two sisters and two brothers. He had spent 2013/14 travelling and working his way across Australia with some friends. In early 2015 he met a beautiful girl and fell in love. They had holidayed in New York, Dubrovnik, Morocco and had a three week holiday planned for June travelling from West to East coast America. He really had never been happier, absolutely everything to live for but cruelly he has been robbed of a life that was really only just starting and ripped from the centre of a family who loved him beyond measure and words.
I couldn’t use the word funeral, so the celebration of our son’s life was referred to as Danny’s Day. It was beautiful, nothing religious, with personal tributes from family, a large group of friends speaking and sharing memories. It had laughter and tears, photos and videos of Danny, poems written and read out by his girlfriend and a heartfelt speech from his 12 year old little sister. A few hundred people came to honour the amazing person that Danny was, and what he had meant to them. Finally being played out by his elder brother playing a guitar and singing one of Dan’s favourite Greenday songs ‘Time of your Life’.
Danny was an avid West Ham fan and season ticket holder. Just over a week after his tragic passing, his photo was displayed on the stadium screen just before the game and a beautiful tribute read out about him. With over a thousand Facebook shares and tweets in the week prior to the match, the crowd spontaneously burst into a round of applause on the 25th minute in his memory.
We have always been the closest family. The magnificent seven. We now find ourselves shattered beyond repair, all trying to find ourselves before we can help each other. One day we will attempt to rebuild our lives without Danny but always knowing it will only ever be a life that can never be perfect without him in it.
Shelly Quin (Danny’s mother)