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Camden News - by CATHERINE ETOE
Published: 7 August 2008

Daniel’s London Tigers team mates
Moving tributes to Daniel on the pitch where he collapsed

Friends and family read poems and sing hymns as they remember tragic teenage footballer

TEAM-MATES, friends and relatives of Daniel Noel gathered on Saturday to pay emotional tributes to the teenager on the pitch where he died playing football.
Most were still visibly reeling from shock, but all were determined to remember the popular 18-year-old who collapsed after scoring a winning goal seven days earlier.
Poems, a moving rendition of the hymn, Oh What A Sunrise, by Daniel’s Grand Aunt, Eva Campbell, as the heavens opened and rain poured down, and tearful reminiscences from lifelong friends punctuated the respectful silence.
And through the words and thoughts of those whose own lives had been touched by Daniel, a picture emerged of a young peacemaker who loved food and whose infectious laugh could light up a room.
“Everything about him was good, so we remember him for the little things, like always drinking Coca-Cola, and giggling in the background,” Daniel’s childhood friend, Emmanuel Adjei, told the gathering of more than 150 mourners.
“He was my boy, my brother, I know he’s up there smiling at us,” sobbed another friend, Muneer Rabbah, as he stood close to the spot where Daniel collapsed last Saturday while playing for the London Tigers in the Camden Unity Cup on Whitfield Street in Fitzrovia.
Vivien Kongolo added: “All Daniel wanted to do was play football – at least he died doing something he loved.”
Football has taken a back seat at the pitch in Whitfield Street in the days since a passing doctor, police and paramedics battled to save Daniel’s life.
Those teenagers who, along with referee Tony Milton and Fitzrovia Youth in Action volunteers, had huddled together to pray as Daniel was whisked away by ambulance to University College London Hospital, insisted that no football was played last week.
Instead, the pitch became memorial: the fences that surround it were decked in flowers and the giant white Unity Cup banner that hung over it became a space for marker-penned messages from hundreds of youngsters.
Director of Unity Cup organisers Fitzrovia Youth in Action Andre Schott said: “During the week, most of us who didn’t know Daniel began to learn more about him as we read moving tributes to him on the banner or online.
“It became obvious to us that he was a caring person and a role model to people who knew him.”
Daniel, who was the oldest of six children, had gained his first football coaching badge and had just begun a business course.
His mother, Velma, said hundreds of people had visited the family home in Pimlico to express their condolences.
This weekend, Daniel was to have set off to an annual Christian camp in the Midlands that was one of the highlights of his summer holiday calendar.
“He had just given his mum the papers to sign the day before,” said Daniel’s Westminster Chapel Sunday School teacher, Vivien Stovell.
“He will be really missed.”

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