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Tributes to popular Strode Park client Darren Brazier, 31, from Herne Bay, who died suddenly this month

Dozens turned out in brightly-coloured sportswear to celebrate the life of 31-year-old Strode Park client Darren Brazier, who died suddenly earlier this month.

Darren Brazier was "the life and soul" of the party
Darren Brazier was "the life and soul" of the party

Sports-mad Darren, described as "the life and soul of the party," suffered a cardiac arrest brought on by a heart condition on Thursday, January 2.

His death has left a void in the lives of his mother Carole, father Tony, sister Hannah, 20, and brother Kyran, 25 – who he was due to serve as best man for later this year.

Paying tribute to her son, Mrs Brazier, 52, of Mickleburgh Avenue, says: "He was a good brother and son and we loved him.

"Last year, he left home and moved into a bungalow. He made so many friends, we had to make appointments to see him. It’s good to know his last 18 months were so happy."

Mrs Brazier said the family was struggling to cope with the loss, but the number of cards, flowers and Facebook messages they have received has provided comfort.

She added: "He was very well-known and people have said such lovely things about him. Everyone I've spoken to has said Darren’s death has made them want to live life to the full, like he did."

Darren was born at Kent and Canterbury Hospital on June 20, 1982, with a congenital heart condition and had several operations throughout his childhood.

As well as the heart defect, Darren had a number of health issues including curvature of the spine, shorter hands and hearing problems.

But Mrs Brazier said his disabilities did not stop him from enjoying life, and watching his favourite sports.

Darren, who went to Herne Bay High School, particularly loved tennis and football, and was a member of Canterbury Cricket Club.

Darren with his friends at Strode Park
Darren with his friends at Strode Park

She added: "He couldn’t really play sport, except for cricket with his brother and sister. He also liked bowling and pétanque. And he was a big fan of the pictures. He had lots of DVDs."

In a tribute read out at his funeral, Darren’s family said: "We have so many happy memories. He is deeply loved and will be greatly missed, and never forgotten."

They asked that instead of flowers, donations be made in Darren’s name to Strode Park Foundation.

Darren started attending the charity’s Lifestyles Academy for Independence in 2008, where he was "a popular and active participant in drama, sport and music activities".

Senior team leader Jan Ralph, said: "Darren made such good progress that by early last year, he felt ready to progress into our outreach services where students enjoy semi-independent living.

Dozens turned out to the funeral on Tuesday
Dozens turned out to the funeral on Tuesday

"He shared a bungalow with two other young men and stated that it had been 'the best year of my life and I wish I’d done it sooner'.

"Darren was very popular with everyone, staff and students alike and we all enjoyed his company and his sense of humour.

"All of us who knew and loved Darren didn’t see his disability. It was the easiest thing in the world to forget he even had one.

"His personality shone brightly all the time. He had a great many friends both in and out of Strode Park. He will be sorely missed by all his friends here."

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