Family pay their tribute to ‘caring and brave’ Darren

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The family of an Eastbourne man who was found collapsed on his birthday and died weeks later has paid tribute to their ‘caring’ son.

Darren Williams, who had congenital heart disease, had picked up a virus and was taken to hospital back in September but passed away from an infection and pneumonia on October 7 at Southampton General Hospital (SGH).

The 31-year-old lived with his grandparents Don and Pamela Putland in Southbourne Road. Sadly the family suffered another tragedy this year when Pamela, who Darren was very close to, died in his arms back in June.

His parents Brian and Julie, who have praised the intensive cardiac care team at SGH, paid tribute to him, saying, “He used to worry more about other people and didn’t like to worry others. He was very caring.”

The Arsenal fan was born with a hole in his heart and had open heart surgery at just 10 days old. He went on to have several open heart operations during his life and his family said he was always a fighter, with mum Julie adding, “He was very brave and fought right to the end. We always said he was unique and so special and he just fought and fought.”

Darren was born in Salisbury and the family moved to Germany in 1983 when Brian was in the army. They moved to Hampden Park 10 years later and Darren attended Parklands Junior School and Eastbourne Technology College in Brodrick Road, now known as The Eastbourne Academy. Following this he studied a computer course at college and went on to work at Tesco based at Lottbridge Drove, where he had been for 14 years.

Brian added, “He was always up to mischief and if I turned up to the petrol station when he was at work he wouldn’t turn the pump on and just stood smiling at me over the counter.”

Darren was a fan of wrestling, the cinema, going out with friends and also enjoyed watching Arsenal matches with his dad.

Brian said, “There’s something big missing from our lives. He always came across as very popular and the staff at Tesco have been left devastated.”

Grandfather Don added, “He was a wonderful grandson and was loved very much, he loved his Nan very much and he will be very, very missed.”

Darren also leaves behind sister Kim, grandparents Tony and Marion Williams and close friend Paul Crossland.

His funeral takes place at midday today (Friday) at Langney Cemetery Chapel.