Family's appeal to bring Sunderland fan home after tragic death in Australia

The family of a diving instructor who died while working in Australia are appealing for help to bring him home.

Sunday, 23rd December 2018, 1:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 4:05 pm
Daniel Wright died in a horrific car crash earlier this week

Sunderland AFC supporter Daniel Wright has been described by his family as “an eternal traveller who lived his life to the full”.

Just weeks after landing his dream job diving the Great Barrier Reef, Daniel died in a horrific car crash on December 18 in Queensland, Australia.

Dan was an animal lover

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His devastated family are doing all they can to bring his body home to be with his distraught mum, Elaine Smith.

Costs to bring the 31-year-old home are expected to hit £10,000 after his family discovered it was not covered by his insurance.

The family say his diving insurance policy only covers non diving related incidents for the first 90 days of his policy - and this time period has recently passed.

His sister Wendy Gribben said on behalf of the family: “Dan was a free spirit, an adventurer, always happy and he lived one hundred lifetimes in his short life.

He worked as a driving instructor in Australia - his dream job

“He achieved so many goals in his short life eventually working in his dream job as a dive instructor at Whitsunday Island exploring the Great Barrier Reef every day in Queensland Australia, sharing his love and passion for the ocean.

“Dan would think nothing of packing up and moving countries to find his next adventure and he made amazing life long friends where ever he went.

“What his friends may not have known is that he missed his home and family so much and would often get upset in his weekly calls to his Mam, telling her he needed a hug.

“He was so proud to tell people he came from the beautiful cathedral city of Durham and loved the cold weather when he did come home.”

Dan was an "eternal traveller" says his family

His family set up a Just Giving page in the hope of raising some of the funds needed to bring Dan home and have been overwhelmed by the response.

In just 24 hours, more than £5,000 had been raised with the total now standing at more than £9,400 from almost 400 supporters.

His niece, Jessica Hay said: “We have been absolutely overwhelmed and humbled by the response, we couldn’t even imagine we’d have so much support.

“We’ve had a couple of donations just through people passing cheques to us.

“He was a free spirit and he made friends everywhere he went.

“He’s just been the light of so many people’s lives.”

A Sunderland AFC supporter, Dan would attend games when he returned to the UK with his step-dad Geoff Smith - who has been a season ticket holder for almost 50 years.

Dan left his home in Newton Hall ten years ago and has been travelling around the world ever since - visiting places like Bali, Malaysia, Singapore to name just a few.

Having lived in Thailand and Gibraltar - where he worked on a dolphin tour boat - Dan moved to Australia in October this year.

He’s trained in Thai boxing with the Grand Masters in Thailand and was highly respected in the diving industry.

Kind-hearted Dan was an animal lover and even took a stray dog under his wing in Thailand.

The day before he died he shared the following quote to his friends and family on social media: “Once you become fearless, life becomes limitless”.

Jessica said: “It is how he lived his life, he was truly fearless in pursuit of his dreams.”

To donate to the Just Giving page click here.