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Tribute gig for Somerton friends could become a yearly event

By Western Gazette - South Somerset  |  Posted: September 29, 2012

  • Dan Gardner

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A memorial concert in memory of two Somerton teenagers could become an annual festival.

More than 150 people turned out to pay tribute a year on from the car crash that claimed the lives of Dan Matts and Dan Gardner.

Friends and family celebrated their lives on Sunday and raised money for charity in the process.

At one point Dan Gardner’s dad Ges and Dan Matts’ father Mark took to the stage to give their emotional thanks to people who have supported them since their sons died.

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They also thanked those involved staging the concert, including staff at the Globe Inn, the boys’ former local pub which hosted the tribute event.

The gig was held to coincide with what would have been Dan Matts’ 21st birthday.

It was organised by The Floor Below, a local band made up of friends of the pair. The band also headlined the event.

Dave Withers, the band’s drummer, said: “We will definitely be running it next year and if people keep supporting it we may make it an annual festival.

“Everyone seemed to be having a good time but there were some emotional moments.”

Mr Withers added: “The two Dans definitely would have enjoyed it if they were there.”

The families of both teenagers have paid tribute a year on from the car crash at Pitney Hill.

Mark Matts said: “We will always be proud of what an amazing young man he was – genuinely caring, loving and funny, always there to help others even if it meant he missed out on the things he wanted to do.

“Dan’s passion was paintball. He was an entrepreneur who owned his own paintball business with aspirations to take it much further.

“He was a very calm, laid back young man who even after being diagnosed with a heart condition managed to stay happy and positive.

“Our family has an enormous hole that can never be filled, no one could ever replace Dan as he was a true one-in-a-million type of person.”

Ges Gardner said: “One year on and Dan is still hugely missed by everyone who knew him.

“Each person, whether family member, friend or work colleague will have a special memory of Dan.

“A happy moment on a family holiday, eating all the cake in the tin, a silly joke, a card trick, a party, a song or a book.

“All these things are important to keep him with us, to make us smile, something he was very good at and thought everyone should do more often.”

Dan Matts’ friend Michael Brierly-Stamp said: “It has been a hard year since we lost Dan. He was loved by everyone and he always wanted to help or have a good time living life to the max.”

The gig helped raise money for a charity chosen by Dan Matts’ family, Yeovil Heartbeat.

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