The clock has just struck midnight. It's now officially the 8th June 2013 and the 21st birthday of the late, great Danny Ward. The lad was genuinely the best friend I've ever had in my life. I've had some good friends but none were as loyal, as friendly or as brilliant as Danny.
He was the sort of guy you could go to about anything. He had the sensitivity and the personality to enable you to feel comfortable talking to him about anything really. I actually remember before we were friends I used to sit next to him in year 5 and wind him up big time. I've got no idea why, but it worked out well; not so long after I'd gone from some annoying git next to him to being one of his closest friends at school.
Soon after we were going to high school together. We had loads of great and funny times together which are some of the finest and best memories of my life so far. I'll never forget our first day at Brigshaw when he came over to a group of us and said 'hey duuuudes' in a really corny way. It might not sound like comedy gold but it was very funny, at least to us group of 11 year olds. He was just a naturally funny lad, sometimes I think he was making everyone laugh when he wasn't even trying to. We had our best 'goof around' year in year 8 which is when we were closest- about year 8 and 9. We used to go around to each other's houses (where he had a lovely family by the way) and go out to Xscape and the cricket field a lot and I don't think we ever had a bad time, it was always great. We always had a laugh and bonded like best friends should.
Reading this back so far I'm probably not doing justice to Danny's academic skills. We often had a laugh and caused mischief in class but he could afford to to be fair. He was one of the most intelligent people I've met, he always did his work and did it much better than me! He let me copy him when I needed to. That's the kind of classy guy he was. I might sound like I'm exaggerating at times here but again, he was the best cricketer I've known. We used to pair up together in PE cricket and he'd help me out and give me advice. We were two best friends and a really good team- and he was the leader, the captain. He never tried to just get the spotlight on him, which he could have easily done being as good as he was. He just went about his game whilst helping others and that's the sign of a classy guy. A mature head on young shoulders.
We had some great times together in particular in year 8 as I say. We were given a great chance to bond that year because we were in a lot of classes together away from the other lads in our group of friends. So it was just us two bonding. Even in lessons where a seating plan was in place we'd sneak away from our seats to sit next to each other. Science was always a laugh, sneaking out of the back door at the end of lessons, constantly yapping and laughing at the back of the classrooms (my school reports from the time show that I was 'too often distracted and talk too much during lessons'). You couldn't not be distracted by Danny. Why wouldn't you talk to and have a laugh with him? He was funny, witty, mischievous and smart. Maths was probably the best though, I could tell stories for hours about what we got up to.
A stand out memory in Maths was us being kept behind as a class by Ms. Rand (who we both regularly pissed off) and I think it was period 5 so we had to catch our bus home. We were sat in the second row from the front so a decent distance away from the door and he just legged it down the classroom to get out and I swear Ms. Rand tried to kick him to stop him. Not a powerful kick but she did poke her leg out with a slight kick. We laughed about that a lot afterwards. It sounds like some teacher cruelty case but believe it or not at the time we all found it absolutely hilarious, including him. It brings such a smile to my face thinking back to all this. My eyes are welling up as I write.
I don't think I've ever had such a laugh and such good times with anyone else as I did with Danny. I often think back to our times together, I don't think I've ever enjoyed the company of anyone as much as I did him.
He seemed to use the term 'legend' quite a lot and that's quite ironic as that's exactly what he was. An absolutely top class, utter legend. A great friend, a great person and someone with so many fantastic qualities.
I think about him a lot and will never forget him. I hope you're having a ball up in heaven mate, I miss you so much (EWL)*.
*See I don't forget mate. (Exclusive code.)