Tributes paid to tragic teenager

Daniel Nicholls: No signs
Daniel Nicholls: No signs
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A devastated family have paid tribute to a 16-year-old who died after being found collapsed at home.

Leyland student Daniel Nicholls, known to friends as Danny, was found collapsed at the property in The Spinney, off Preston Road, Chorley, by his sister Leanne Clarke, at 2pm on Monday.

His parents Lorraine and Eric Nicholls, both 51, and sisters Leanne, 29, and Louise Brookes, 32, now face weeks of waiting to find out what caused Daniel’s death, as he had shown no sign of illness.

Lorraine, a secretary at Duke Street Primary School in Chorley, broke down in tears as she said: “He was my boy”.

“He was quiet at home with us, but all of his friends are saying how much of a comedian he was.

“We had no idea how popular he was, and we’ve been inundated with text messages and Facebook messages from people all over the country telling us how much they will miss him.

“He was a good lad - he was never any bother, he wasn’t into drink or drugs, he didn’t hang around on streets, and he was a homebird. There were a few times when he’d gone to sleep over at a friends house and he rang me to get picked up.”

The ICT student at Runshaw College, formerly of Southland’s High School, was nicknamed ‘Mushroom’ by Eric, for his love of playing XBox games in his room.

Eric said: “He loved sitting in the dark in his room, eating, and playing his computer games.

“He had a whole community of people online who he became friends with by playing Call of Duty, and he used to edit video of clips of the games and upload them to YouTube.

“These people, from as far away as Ireland have sent messages of condolence, saying it’s not the same without him.”

On Monday, Leanne, 29, a hairdresser, had gone to remind Daniel to do some jobs around the house on his day off from college, when she became concerned when she couldn’t get a response by throwing stones at his bedroom window.

She then saw that he had collapsed downstairs and forced her way in through the door. Emergency services were called, but paramedics were unable to revive Daniel.

Louise, a teacher, said: “I think we’re all still in shock, it hasn’t sunk in yet that he’s not coming home.

“Me and Leanne are a lot older than him, and we were watching him grow up from being a boy to being a young man.

“Sometimes we didn’t see each other for weeks, and I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about that, but my husband reminded me that he was a 16-year-old boy and he was happy doing his own thing.

“But we did all get together the day before he died because it was our grandad’s birthday. We’re all glad that happened.”

Daniel also leaves nephews Harry, two, and Jacob, four months, who his family say he was “extremely fond of”.

Louise added: “We will all get together as a family for Christmas, for the sake of Harry and Jacob who are too young to understand, but we won’t be having a meal or anything much more than that. We’re not thinking about it at all really.”

Eric, a lorry driver, added: “I was looking forward to doing the normal fatherly things with him as he grew up, like teaching him how to drive, and taking him for his first pint.

“We were going to get him a moped because all of his friends are getting them, and his grandparents had even saved up some money to pay for his lessons.”

Lorraine added: “We’re getting a lot of support from Daniel’s friends and I can’t put into words how proud I am of them and of him.”

Daniel was a fan of Blackburn Rovers, where Lorraine works as a steward, and had been a mascot for the club when he was nine-years-old.

He had also played football for Coppull United FC, before becoming more interested in computer games.

Dave Houghton, director of football at Coppull United FC, said: “Danny played for our academy for one season when he was 13.

“A lot of the lads who are still playing for us remember him, were good friends with him, and were thinking of him at training on Monday night.

“It is terrible news, and we all pass on our condolences to Danny’s family.”

Daniel also leaves nephews Harry, two, and Jacob, four months, who his family say he was “extremely fond of”.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said they are treating the death as non-suspicious, and a file has been passed to the coroner.

An inquest into Daniel’s death has been opened, but tests, which can taken several weeks to come back, may be required to determine the cause of death.

No funeral arrangements have yet been made.