Crash victim was 'hero and inspiration'

THE heartbroken father of a successful young entrepreneur killed in a road crash has paid tribute to a son who “was everybody's friend” and an “inspiration”.

THE heartbroken father of a successful young entrepreneur killed in a road crash has paid tribute to a son who “was everybody's friend” and an “inspiration”.

David Thompson says although the death of his son Dan, 30, a prominent Sudbury businessman, has left his family devastated, they were proud of what he achieved in his life.

Mr Thompson, who lives at Boxted, near Colchester, was speaking on the day the name of a new bar opened by his son in Sudbury just last week was changed to “Danny's” in his memory.

As a director of Sudbury's Choices movie shop, Reggianno's sandwich bar and the new drinking bar, Mr Thompson was one of the town's best-known characters.

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In addition to his business achievements Mr Thompson's family and friends say he was equally well-known for his charisma, personality and caring nature.

His father, also a successful businessman in the area for many years, said: “Dan was my hero and my inspiration. He was a fantastic son, brother, grandson and friend - words just cannot do him justice and I just can't describe how much he will be missed.

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“As a family we were very much together wherever we were in the world.”

Mr Thompson was born in Sudbury and brought up at the family home in tiny hamlet of Belchamp Walter, where his father said he enjoyed some of the happiest times.

His affection for his childhood home is so strong that he will be buried at the village's St Mary's Church, alongside his grandfather.

Mr Thompson was educated at Sudbury's former Salter's Hall School before winning a scholarship to the Bishop Stortford College where he completed his O-level exams and excelled in sport.

After becoming Suffolk school's junior cross-country running champion, he went on to represent Hertfordshire in the same sport and also in water-polo.

His father said: “He also loved swimming, karate and football. He managed a five-a-side football team in Sudbury and was a keen fan of Tottenham Hotspur.”

After leaving school Mr Thompson lived in Tenerife for around a year when he was 19 and ended up managing a beachside bar.

In 1995, he joined his father as a partner at Sudbury's Movie Shop in Gainsborough Street, when at the same time he worked as a salesman for Channel Four's Film Four.

He eventually worked full-time at the family business, by which time he had moved to The Maltings in Long Melford.

The family business eventually become a franchise of Choices home entertainment and Mr Thompson was a director of the shop when it moved to new premises in Cornard Road earlier this year.

Two years ago he also opened the Reggianno's sandwich shop and just last week he realised his long-held dream of opening the new bar, now called Danny's, at the Gainsborough Street premises which was formerly the Movie Shop.

“Dan had so much energy and charisma and had such a big love for living,” added his father.

“When he walked in a room he made you feel happy.

“He had such an incredible personality, with lots of charm and charisma, he was always there for his family and friends when they needed him.

“Dan was a perfectionist and was meticulous in his planning. He was a fantastic businessman who worked incredibly hard and achieved more in a few years than some could in a lifetime.

“As a person, he had a very big-heart and was very loyal to his many friends. He was also very close to his brothers and sisters and had a strong bond with his mother. Life will never be the same without his presence and personality, but he will always be with us.”

Mr Thompson leaves his parents David and Patricia, younger brothers Simon, 29, and Jamie, 19, and sister Francesca, 17.

He died on Monday night when the Seat Leon he was driving was involved in a collision with a heavy goods vehicle at the Valley Road junction of the A134, just outside Sudbury, at around 11pm.

Anyone with any information about the collision should contact Suffolk police on 01473 613500.

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