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Faversham fireman Danny Haxton dies after collapsing at work

A popular firefighter who died suddenly after collapsing at work was a “true gent” and “all-round good guy”.

Devoted dad-of-two Danny Haxton, 37, fell ill just minutes into his shift with colleagues tragically unable to resuscitate him.

His wife, Nikki Haxton-Jones, had been celebrating her 37th birthday at home in Whitstable Road, Faversham, with their children, Olivia, 10, and Harry, eight, at the time.

Danny Haxton with colleagues from the fire service
Danny Haxton with colleagues from the fire service

She says her husband was fit and healthy, so his death has come as a huge shock to everyone. He had even captained his cricket team the day before.

“It still hasn’t sunk in for me, it’s like I’m living a bizarre dream,” she said.

“He was really healthy, he didn’t smoke or drink, he used the gym before he started his shifts. He was as strong as an ox.”

Mr Haxton was a watch manager at Beckenham fire station in Bromley, where he collapsed and died at about 9pm.

Two senior officers from the London Fire Brigade accompanied Mrs Haxton-Jones to the capital later that night, where she had to break the tragic news to her in-laws.

Paying tribute to fire brigade teams in Deptford, White Chapel, East Greenwich, Lee Green and Beckenham, she said: “They have been amazing and so supportive.

Danny Haxton and Nikki Haxton-Jones on their wedding day five years ago
Danny Haxton and Nikki Haxton-Jones on their wedding day five years ago

“Four members of his training squad went to the hospital where Danny was taken to form an unofficial guard of honour. I was deeply touched by that.

“I want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me.”

Stephen Irvine, from Herne Bay, was a close friend of Mr Haxton’s and a London Fire Brigade colleague.

He said: “Danny was a very popular guy throughout the brigade. It was obvious he loved his life, family and job.

“He was a fantastic firefighter and officer and a role model to myself and others. He will be sorely missed.”

Mr Haxton and his wife had been together for 18 years after meeting during freshers’ week at university in Luton.

Danny with children Harry and Olivia
Danny with children Harry and Olivia

They married five years ago, proud parents to Olivia and Harry, who both attend Davington Primary School.

Mrs Haxton-Jones, who works at Saga in Folkestone, said: “We just clicked immediately.

"He was a Millwall fan and I supported Wrexham and they were in the same division so we chatted about that.

“He played in the football team and I was in the netball team. We became best friends.

“He would get on with everybody – he was just an all-round good guy.”

"It still hasn't sunk in for me, it's like I'm living a bizarre dream" - Danny's wife Nikki

Mr Haxton was a talented sportsman, previously playing American football for the Canterbury-based East Kent Mavericks and more recently cricket for Faversham, where he was vice-captain.

The day before his death he had won his first game as stand-in captain.

Club secretary Vince Taylor says Mr Haxton was enjoying his best season in 10 years with the side.

“The club cannot express enough how much he is hugely loved and highly respected, because he is one of life’s true gents, just a good guy,” he added.

“He played and enjoyed the game in the right way, always happy and positive, no matter what.

“If there was one person I could tell younger players to emulate in their attitude on how to play the game, without doubt, it would be Danny.

“He will be leaving not just a hole in the field, but a massive hole in all our hearts at the club, too.”

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