CALLOUS thieves are thought to have snatched commemorative flowers from the scene of a young Wigan man’s fatal road smash.
Daniel Birch, 23, was killed when his car hit a gatepost at the Red Brick Barn on the Wigan to Chorley road at Worthington in the early hours of Mother’s Day.
After the March 18 tragedy, floral and other tributes to the popular soccer player and sportsman were left at the site of the crash up until Daniel’s funeral at St John’s Church in Hindley Green on April 2, when they were removed by parents Stuart and Helen and other members of Daniel’s family.
These were then replaced with the flowers that were borne in the horse-drawn hearse with Daniel’s coffin which travelled from his home, the White Crow gastropub in Worthington, to St John’s for his funeral service.
Dad Stuart then reported on Facebook that the floral tributes had disappeared within an hour of being put at the site of the crash.
He wrote: “Our tribute to Dan - they were only there an hour and someone moved them. Did anyone see them getting moved? We are gutted.”
Chorley Council has denied removing the flowers, and neighbours in the area did not see any suspicious activity at the crash site on the day.
A statement subsequently issued by the Birch family said: “We cannot understand how anyone could be so heartless and callous to remove such personal tributes to our son, brother and grandson so soon after his funeral.
“If you have taken them, please return them to us.”
Daniel’s funeral in Hindley, where he spent his early years, was a remarkable tribute to the former Winstanley College and Albany High School pupil who played football for Croston Sports Club.
Some 400 people were present to support parents Helen and Stuart, sister Jordan and brother William and the other members of Daniel’s family.
Mum Helen gave a moving tribute to her son, as did his heartbroken sister Jordan. Daniel was borne out of the church to Gerry and the Pacemakers singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” the Liverpool supporters’ song.
The service was followed by cremation at Charnock Richard, and many mourners joined the Birch family for a reception in Daniel’s honour afterwards at the White Crow.