I received the very sad news yesterday that Darren had lost his fight against cancer.
I'd known Darren since working at Green Lane Mail Center. We shared a love of cycling, although he was a gravity junkie who would scare me with stories of his Sheffield woods downhill exploits, while I'd tell of my adventures across country.
Darren was a plain speaking Yorkshireman, and always spoke his mind. Never one to allow anything to slow him down or get in his way. He tackled his cancer with the same attitude. He wasn't going to let it change his life. He made all the changes he had to, moving house to be nearer his children, stopping driving and cycling, and returning to work as soon as he could and carrying on as though nothing had changed.
On his return, as his friend and line manager, I asked him what he wanted to do? Sit down on letters or flats? Less hours? Whatever suited him. Typically he opted for the "business as usual" option. Tipping bags like the old days. This eventually proved too much for him, and after a particularly bad week of not eating much and feeling poorly, Darren had a bad turn at work one night and was taken away by ambulance.
Unbelievably he was back in the next night! We sat down again and I told him this time that he was no longer tipping bags. He acknowledged that he'd been trying to do too much and settled for sorting instead.
That's the last time I saw him. The next week he was off, then I was off sick fighting my own cancer. The last I heard Darren had taken another bad turn at work, this time off for good, and never to return.
I was going to phone him today. I'd been putting it off all week for no reason. I regret not speaking to him massively.
I'll miss you Darren.