With thousands raised to help secure his son’s future, tragic Scarborough dad Dan Layton has given the gift of life to at least one other person since he was killed in a horrific crash.
The 27-year-old died just days before Christmas last year, after crashing a silver Volkswagen Golf into a tractor’s trailer on the A165 on his way back from spending his Sunday with beloved son Jack.
His death was this week ruled an accident by Coroner Michael Oakley at an emotional inquest, and mum Margaret says the family must now do what her late son would have wished for and rally around to raise little Jack.
But she said she has found some comfort in receiving a letter from a grateful stranger who received not only a life-saving transplant from organ donor Dan, but also a brighter future. “It’s comforting to know that someone else now has that chance to say goodbye,” she said.
And paying tribute to the Crossgates scaffolder, she said popular Dan “was just like any normal son”, adding: “You had your good times and bad times but generally he was a happy-go-lucky person, he just wanted to make everyone else happy.
“Now all of our lives have changed together, but I think it’s time for us all to start rebuilding our lives and concentrate on Jack.
“It’s been put to bed now, and it’s time for all of us as a family to move on – that’s what Dan would have wanted.”
Police, witnesses and friends spoke at the hearing on Tuesday at Scarborough Rugby Club, which heard that he had smashed into the back of a tractor’s trailer on December 15 last year.
After the driver of the tractor flagged down off-duty Filey police officer Mark Walton, Mr Layton was rushed to Scarborough Hospital.
However his injuries, which included a skull fracture, haemorrhage and four-inch forehead laceration, were too severe, and he died the following day.
But in the wake of the tragedy, his friends and family ensured “proud dad” Dan left behind both a positive legacy for both himself and little Jack.
A Facebook group, Riding for Jack, was created, and through multiple fundraising ventures such as a sponsored 20km bike ride, £6,505 has so far been raised to give what Margaret calls “a good start in life” to the toddler.
The cash will be used to help pay for things such as school trips as he grows up, while some of it will be put in a trust fund for when he turns 18.
And as money continues to pour in for Jack, more is being done to remember his popular football-mad dad. Dan’s side Seamer, which held a pre-match minute’s silence for him following the crash, are now planning an annual Boxing Day fancy dress memorial match.
“We play football every year on Boxing Day, but because we were all in so much shock this year with Dan’s death being so close to Christmas, we didn’t do it,” said close friend Joe Tiffany.
“Dan was a really good player, and would get a fair few goals for Seamer, but although he would score some screamers, he would miss some absolute sitters!
“But he would have loved it, he loved football and always played every Boxing Day, so all the lads said we should do something like this to remember him.”
Despite his love of football keeping him fit, the inquest did hear how Dan had suffered throughout this life with issues involving his health, most notably “blackouts”.
He also suffered from chest pains, including an episode just weeks prior to the crash.
And at the hearing, it was said that the possibility of such an episode causing the crash couldn’t be “ruled out”.
Traffic Constable Stephen Kirkbright told the inquest that Dan had been speeding at the time of the accident, travelling at 75mph on the 60mph stretch of road.
He also said that data extracted from his phone following the collision showed that he had been on his phone minutes before the crash, although the calls were not “terminated” by the accident.
But summing up, Mr Oakley said that while there had “clearly been some sort of distraction” that caused Mr Layton to crash into the trailer, he couldn’t be sure what that distraction was.