Tributes have been paid to well known Enniskillen man, Dan Blake, who passed away recently. The father of four died on Saturday, December 7, one day before his 49th birthday with family and friends left devastated.

“His whole life was about helping others. That’s what it was about for Dan,” his brother Marius explained this week.

At his funeral a letter was read which Dan had penned before he died.

He spoke about the “four happiest days of his life” as being his wedding day to wife Maddy, and the birth of his three sons, Cal, Theo and Rowan. Writing about his sons he said; “I am so proud of them, and they couldn’t have made me any happier” while he described his wife Maddy as his “rock”.

“I could not have asked for a better wife than Maddy, she is so gentle, family orientated and has been an inspirational mother, and she is the love of my life,” Dan wrote.

In March of 2017 Dan was diagnosed with leukaemia and although he had 16 months in remission, the cancer returned in January of 2019.

“Initially that was very difficult for Dan, but he faced it with great courage and he just got on with life. He kept his spirits up and was the same old Dan, great sense of humour, there was always devilment there and making people laugh,” Marius explained to the Impartial Reporter.

Dan was a qualified social worker with Marius explaining that there was a large presence of work colleagues at both the wake and the funeral.

“There was real genuine heartfelt grief there. He brought great joy to his work. And I was always struck over the years how people would get talking to me and say how much Dan had helped them or helped a loved one. His whole life was about helping others. That’s what it was about for Dan,” his brother said.

That caring generous nature was innate in Dan and fostered by a strong happily childhood. In his letter read at his funeral Dan said that he was “blessed to have a wonderful relationship” with his mother and father, Dympna and the late Donal.

He grew up the youngest of five siblings and a life changing experience for Dan was his summers spent in Calcutta working with Mother Teresa in 1986 and 1987. Those summers in India further saw him pursue a career in social work.

Dan was also a familiar face behind the bar in the family pub, Blakes of the Hollow, where he and his brothers and sister all worked.

In the letter Dan wrote for his funeral he thanked the staff at Belfast City Hospital, St James Hospital in Dublin and also staff at South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen while he also urged anyone eligible to become a bone marrow donor and to “offer someone the opportunity of life”.

He finished his letter by saying:

“Finally, I know you will continue to offer loving support to my darling wife and my three boys Cal, Theo and Rowan whom I love with all my heart.”

Dan is survived by his wife and four children, his mother Dympna, and his siblings, Liam, Mary Jo, Marius and Gerald and extended family. The funeral mass took place at St Michael’s Church Enniskillen on Monday.

Donations in lieu of flowers were asked to be made to Leukaemia & Lymphoma N.I, care of Patrick Blake Funeral Director.