A loving mother plans a “happy” final send-off for her son whose body was recovered from the North Sea eight weeks after he went missing.
The remains of Daniel Smith were finally released back to his family on Friday after DNA tests confirmed his identity.
He went missing on Friday, March 20, with the last ping of his mobile phone placing him at Marsden.
Now, his mother Cath Leach plans to give him a celebratory send-off at the Hedworth Hall in South Shields from 11am on Tuesday, June 16, followed by burial at Harton Cemetery and a gathering at the Marsden Inn pub.
Miss Leach, 45, of Livingston Place, South Shields, has asked anyone planning to attend the funeral not to wear black and to dress-up in bright tops and football shirts for the occasion, “because that’s what Danny would have wanted”.
She said: “I want it to be a celebration of Danny’s life.
Danny wanted a party for his funeralCath Leach
“I want as many people there to remember him as possible.
“When we got his body back it was 11 weeks to the day since he had went missing. Although I was 99.9 per cent sure it was him, there was still a small part of me that thought it wasn’t, so hearing the DNA results making it certain was hard for me.”
Miss Leach, who scoured the coast in a desperate search for her son, added: “Danny had lost friends of his own age and we’d talked about what funeral he would want. Danny was the best party-goer ever and he wanted a party for his funeral. That’s what we’re going to give him.”