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Amy Hindhaugh Ness
I’ve been friends with Dan since we started High School together
in 1998. Over the years we’ve spent a lot of time together and
what I can guarantee is that whenever I was in Dan’s company,
I was sure to laugh! Together with our mutual friends we shared
days out together, nights in, nights out, weekends away and a lot
of time talking about Stoke City.
When I was asked to write something about Dan, such as a memory
or something specific that I recall about our friendship it was difficult
to pinpoint one particular thing. We just always had a laugh together.
His personality was infectious, and you certainly knew he was in the room
because he always lit it up whenever he was around! He would either be
cracking jokes, doing impersonations or just generally being a bit daft and
would have everyone in stitches. I remember back in 2008 a few of us went round to
Dan’s as there was some boxing on. I think I fell asleep on the sofa at some point because I wasn’t really interested in the fight like the others, but it finished about 4-5am and we looked outside to find the snow coming down really fast. Of course, those of us that had survived until those early hours couldn’t help ourselves and went outside for an epic snowball fight! Dan being a postie at heart obviously couldn’t feel the cold stood in his shorts in the middle of Winter in a blizzard!
He also helped me to realise a dream when loads of us went to V Festival in 2009. The Killers were headlining and we both loved them but we were stuck at the back and I couldn’t see a thing. Dan lifted me up onto his shoulders and for those few seconds it was an absolutely amazing feeling to see my favourite band for the first time, although Dan not being the most robust of lads, it was also slightly frightening too!
We loved talking about Stoke City and a common interest in all things America.
I know he always wanted to road trip around America and I’m sure he would have
watched as much sport as he could while he was over there. I could never get on
board with his fascination and love for American Football but he stayed up and
watched the Superbowl every year! Prior to losing Dan, my now wife and I were
contemplating a trip to New York, but it was obviously a big financial commitment
which we weren’t sure whether to go ahead with and book. When Dan died it just
made us realise that when you have a once in a lifetime opportunity you should just
go ahead and do it, why wait? Dan’s family regularly used the phrase “live for today
because tomorrow is promised to no-one” and it’s so true. Within a couple of days we
just booked the holiday and we bought Dan a Stoke shirt with his name on and took
it with us to watch a football match at the Yankees Stadium. We know he would’ve absolutely loved it and it was nice to think of him being there with us.
Dan left a huge hole in a lot of people’s lives when he died so suddenly. He was everybody’s friend and he had so much of his life to live. He was such a happy, easy going and fun person to be around. The amount of money Dan’s family have raised in his name and the huge numbers of young people who have been screened, no doubt stopping another family going through what they have, is truly remarkable. His name will live on for a long time and I know he would be so proud of the incredible work the Hughes family do in his honour.
We must all remember the traits Dan had and lived for and remember to carry them with us every day, so we can continue to live in the way that Dan would have done. If we try our best to embody his attitude and passion for life, we can all carry a part of him with us. I live my life for myself, for my family and for Dan.
Dave Cooper "Coops"
Dan the man, where to start....
Dan has a legacy for a reason. Everyone loves him. Nobody has a bad word to say
about him. He still to this day is one of the most honest, genuine lads I’ve met and had
the pleasure of calling my friend. I first met Dan playing football locally with the “lads”
and then went onto being friends for years going on holiday, spending many a night
out and having a laugh. That’s one thing you do with Dan... laugh. Dan is the guy you
go to that will always give you 5 minutes of his time to talk. When Dan passed I
remember being in the Plough that evening with 100s of people celebrating what a
beautiful guy he is. After the funeral me and Homer wanted to raise some money for CRY
and decided to arrange the cricket day and the rest is history. We now have a charity day
dedicated to Dan. A legacy that will live on with all of the Hughes Families passion for helping others.
We create a carnival atmosphere for a reason. Dan was a bundle of fun he would love to be there! A time when all of the community comes together to not only raise money but celebrate the life of Dan. A true gentlemen.
When I think of Dan, I think of his smile and that laugh!!!
Dan never took life (or himself) too seriously and was just so much fun to be around.
Dan had such a positive energy and I don't recall him ever being anything but happy.
He was simply kind and hilarious. ...I have nothing but fond memories. From school, the
days hanging around at the local park or drinking and dancing on nights out...he had
I often think of when he would be having a chilled night in and us girls would turn up for
drinks. He never moaned, and would be so welcoming (possibly followed by an eye roll)
before returning to his play station and leaving us girls to it ...x
The thing about Dan was, he never failed to make you smile. To me, all the silly
memories that make you smile are part of his legacy. One of my favorite is during
the time Dan had broken his leg (It was broken that badly it had been pinned back
together through the outside of his shin). This never held Dan back. I think we had been
to a Stoke game in the day time, and as they do, a few beers had been flowing.
Afterwards we went to see "Rocker Ry", a friend of ours, play a gig in town. Dan was always
full of energy and never let anything slow him down. When his favorite song came on, he
appeared from nowhere, bouncing around on his one good leg with balloons tied into the pins in his bad leg, holding his bad leg up, playing it like a guitar singing at the top of his voice.. "SIGHT SEEEEING WOMAN"
Steve Bailey "Bails"
It would have been hard not to get along with Dan. Being someone who was universally liked, it’s no surprise that so many people called him a friend; in turn, being Dan’s mate was easy - you wanted to spend time with him, as he naturally made you a happier person. For myself - and for most of our close friends - our friendship started in primary school and continued to grow, to the point where Dan was my best mate. His personality really had something for everyone; he was definitely one of the lads, but he was still thoughtful and caring. Dan was reliable, you could always count on him and many did. If things weren’t going great for you, he’d always want to lend a hand and, equally, if things were bad for him, you wanted to help. Many will agree that Dan’s most memorable personality trait was his comedy; he was never going to be on the stage, but he always made everyone laugh. His silly sense of
humor was always right up my street, which is why we got on so well.
One year, his caring side really peaked and he decided to make me a
birthday cake - of sorts! That was Dan, down to a tee.
When I think back, it’s not hard to remember great stories - there was always
the potential for a new one, with following Stoke City, snowboarding
holidays, summer holidays, days out and nights out -all spent together.
A less pleasant example of Dan’s silly-side came during a festival we went to.
As you do at a festival, when you need to go, you find the nearest toilet
which, for me, was against a temporary fence… we’ve all done it! So, as I started to use the ‘loo’, I heard heavy foot steps behind me, in quick succession. I turned my head to see Dan running full pace, directly at me. I had just enough time to stop what I was doing before he rugby tackled me, sending us both into the fence. What Dan hadn’t planned for was that the fence wasn’t very sturdy and so, obviously, it collapsed, sending both of us directly into a bush of nettles! A few painful seconds and several nettle stings later, we were clear of the bushes and laughing about it. Cheers, mate!
Nights out were always decent when Dan was around. With the help of a few beers, we naturally saw ourselves as quite good dancers; we were, in fact, awful dancers - but that didn’t stop us. Our stupid moves were endless and nights often ended with Dan having a very sweaty fringe, especially during his ‘mop head'
days! Once, he broke his leg quite badly and had to have pins - but he was
still out, dancing with his crutches. He even tied a balloon to his pin one night,
which made him quite popular. As a group of mates, we went to see Oasis in
Dublin. The stage was in a natural bowl, where you had to walk down the
bank to get to it. Dan, still with his pins, decided to fake a fall and started to roll
down the hill. The lads creased up watching him, whilst members of public
watched in horror as a man clearly recovering from a broken leg barreled
down a hill. He did all of this to make us laugh - and he never failed.
Dan was one of the first people in our group of mates to pass his driving test.
His first car was a bright blue Vauxhall Corsa; that car felt like it belonged as
much to our group as it did to Dan, because he drove us everywhere in it. He
was generous with giving lifts and would always come and pick you up if you
were stuck. Although he loved that car, it definitely got some hammer; by the
end, it resembled a car whose owner was just finding his feet with driving! His
driving did improve with his next car, though.Throughout his life Dan spent a lot of time with his mates. Even when he got a girlfriend, he still made time for us. I think the lads will agree that one of the best experiences we had together was when Stoke City got into the Europa League where we got to play Valencia CF. We flew to Madrid, spent a night there and then went on to Valencia for 2 more nights. Aside from the actual game, the whole trip was a proper laugh, from start to finish with some harmless antics that I would prefer not to mention. Now, more than ever, I look back on that trip and smile for many reasons, but mainly because Dan was there. In January 2015, we all went to our local Thai Restaurant for
Dan’s birthday. The tiger beers were flowing and, with it being just the lads, it was a little rowdy. Standing up and
chanting “There’s only one Danny Hughes” is not normally acceptable in a restaurant, but we seemed to get away with i
t, somehow. That proved to be Dan’s last birthday. Every year in January we still go to that restaurant to celebrate his
birthday. Just like in 2015, it is still the lads, but now we go with Dan’s Mum, Dad and Sister, too - it’s our way of staying
close to him and their way of staying close to us. One positive that I am able to take from the huge and overwhelming loss of Dan is the effort that has been put into charity work, in his memory. It started with a bike ride from Wembley Stadium to the Britannia Stadium and was organised by Dan’s Family and us - his best mates. We did this in aid of Cardiac Risk in the Young and, along with auction evening, raised a substantial amount of money. The work for CRY has continued ever since, with Dan’s family carrying the baton to places we never could have imagined. With the help of others along the way, they have jumped feet first, trying their best to ensure that other people never have to experience what they have. Dan’s family get young people screened for un-diagnosed heart conditions - something that is not currently available on the NHS. Although I see the charity and Dan as two separate entities, part of his legacy is now his memorial fund, which has helped and continues to help so many local people and families.
I think about Dan all of the time, because Dan was just always there. I could list a hundred memories - some of which would likely be of no interest to other people, but remain hugely valuable to me and the lads, all the same. I called Dan a ‘Legend’ when I spoke at his funeral. I feel it’s a word that gets batted around far too easily, but - for Dan - it is deserved. When you consider the stories, his personality and the legacy he has left behind, it is truly the stuff of legends! He is vividly remembered and so sorely missed.
February 2012 Valencia (a)
Me, Dagger, Bails, Son, Langers, Alex, and of course the main man Dan,
flew out to Spain to watch Stoke play at Valencia. The plan was - fly to
Madrid for a night then catch the train to Valencia for 2 nights. We
arrived in Madrid and soon found a cheap bar before before going on a
tour of Real Madrid’s Bernabeu stadium. That night we jumped on a bar
crawl orgainsied by our hostel, Dan was on fine form as usual, laughing,
dancing, singing and drinking the night away. Not sure how he managed it, but later
that night he somehow ended up in a taxi out in the middle of no where whilst trying
his best to give the taxi driver directions to our hostel! After god knows how many phone
calls between us and Dan, all of us attempting to re direct his driver (after we had been
drinking all day), Dan finally turned up to the hostel about 2 hours after the rest of us.
He was laughing as usual and it was not long before we were up in the morning, it was
the day of the match. We got the train to Valencia and met up with Stubbsy and the
Lesters. A few more beers in the sun with a few thousand fellow Stokies and it was time
to go to the Mestalla, we watched Stoke get beat 1-0 but we loved every minute of it.
To our surprise they didn’t sell pies at the Mestalla! But they did sell sweets. So at half
time, beer and sweets it was, until Dan started a sweet throwing fight, the main target
being the back of the match stewards heads, who were not best pleased! We had a good
laugh anyway and we had a cracking 2 nights in Valencia.
I bought a Valencia club scarf with Dan on the morning we came home as a keep sake
to the trip, It’s up in my front room now in a frame on my chimney breast. Every day
I look at it and think back to those few days we all had in Spain together and
particularly the time we all spent with Dan. Just one of many, many times we had with
Dan that I will never forget. One Dan Hughes
Andy Lester "Jimmy Hill"
Andy put this video together shortly after Dan died.........Enjoy!
One Dan Hughes’ What can I say that hasn’t already been said. I agree whole heartedly with Dan’s
friends just how special he is. The fun and good times they had together are so precious and reflect
how much Dan means to each of them. Maybe we didn’t see a lot of Dan but when we did he was
always happy, polite and a joy to be with. We have so many treasured memories of Dan when he
was a child some which are captured on family videos and photos, some in our minds. Later
there are others at parties for Halloween, bonfire night, Christmas etc; Dan loved his family and friends
and enjoyed spending time with them as much as they enjoyed spending time with him. Sadly we won’t
know where Dan would be or what Dan would be doing now but one thing is for sure he would still
be making everyone laugh in his own special way.
How blessed we all are to know him. One Dan Hughes.
Liam Kelly - Sunday League Football Manager
My greatest memories with Dan come from when I had the pleasure of being his
Sunday league manager for 2 season at Alsagers Bank FC. I made an immediate
connection with Dan both on and off the football field. I saw his leadership qualities
and maturity as the perfect asset to the team and made him captain instantly.
He was great with the young lads that we brought into the team and had the
respect of everyone including the “older heads.” I remember his last game for us
was a 9-1 victory at Clough Hall Park, in icy conditions, where Dan missed 6 perfect
chances to score, before finally grabbing his goal at the very end. A reliable ever
present in the team, we retired the number 2 shirt he so often wore, in honor of our
captain. Myself, Dan and a couple of other team mates formed bond by attending 2-3
gym sessions together a week. These sessions were in the form of circuit classes, and Dan’s
competitive nature always pushed us to achieve our best.
In 2021 I will be running the London Marathon in memory of Dan, and raising money for the CRY charity. The race was supposed to be April 2020 but postponed, and I’ve already raised £2000! During training for the event it’s the memories of Dan that get me through the toughest of sesssions, and the thought of how proud he would be at this achievement. I will have him running alongside me throughout. Every time I step into the football dugout I think of Dan and the impact he had on my life for the years I had the pleasure to spend with him. A special guy who had time for everybody.