Heartbreak over death of coach Reece

Devoted dad, 31, dies suddenly after sinus infection spread to his brain

Friday, 3rd November 2017 — By Joe Cooper

Reece Darcheville

Reece Darcheville with the AC United football team that he co-founded

A COMMUNITY is in mourning after a devoted young father-of-two and inspirational sports coach had his life suddenly cut short by a sinus infection which spread to his brain.

Hundreds of people are expected to attend PE teacher Reece Darcheville’s funeral later today (Friday) to pay their respects to the co-founder of Islington’s AC United youth football team.

The 31-year-old died two weeks after falling ill. His family have been told it was a 1-in-10,000 chance that the infection would spread.

He was, in the words of his mother Sandra, “the perfect son”.

Camden and Islington Youth Football League chairman Pete Wickham paid tribute to an “amazing man, father and friend”. Mr Darcheville’s talent-spotting skills were recognised by Premier League clubs and he scouted for Tottenham and Crystal Palace.

Mr Darcheville with sons Shay and Rayne

The house where he grew up, in Kerridge Court, just off Balls Pond Road, has been flooded with flowers and gifts. Mr Darcheville’s wife, Shenna, who he met at her 16th birthday and later married in 2010 on a beach in Mexico, said he had been a dedicated father to his sons, Shay, 10, and Rayne, six.

“Nine times out of 10 when people would see him he would be with the children, picking up and taking them to school, swimming, Sunday matches and homework,” she said. “He set an example. We’ve started a memory box for my two boys and they’re already talking about the things Daddy taught them, ­saying ‘I want to be like Daddy when I’m older’.”

Relatives say Mr Darcheville had been a hardworking pupil as a child – he attended Highbury Grove School. The only time he would ever be told off was when he was late back after lunch because he was playing football. He was known for his love of fashion and music, too, and would appear on his grandfather’s float at the Notting Hill Carnival every year.

His lifelong friend Bol Joseph worked with him among the volunteer coaches at the Market Road football pitches, and together they set up AC United.

“They won the league many times,” Shenna said. “Lots of the boys have gone on to play for Chelsea and England, there were lots of success stories. But also, because Reece had lived a similar life to the boys, he acted as a mentor to them and guided them.”


Mr Darcheville on his wedding day with wife Shenna

Mr Darcheville’s ­connections with other scouts meant that on Saturday, Shay’s 10th birthday, the family were invited up to Anfield to watch Liverpool play Huddersfield and the boys got to meet their favourite players. Reece had passed on his love of Liverpool to his sons.

Mr Darcheville began vomiting and complaining of headaches two weeks before his death. He was diagnosed with a sinus infection. Shenna was convinced something more was wrong but she said several times he was simply given stronger antibiotics and told to go home. It was when Mr Darcheville began to ­display stroke-like symptoms Shenna rushed him to hospital, where doctors realised the infection had spread to his brain. He was put into an induced coma, but too much ­damage had already been done. He died in the ­Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, last month

One of his kidneys has already gone to a man who has been waiting for one for a year-and-a-half, another to a boy waiting almost three years, while his liver has given a woman a life-saving transplant and his heart is now in a teenage boy.

“It has made my sons so proud,” Shenna said. “They are saying ‘Daddy’s a superhero’.”

Mr Darcheville’s funeral is today (Friday) at St Mark’s Church, Dalston, where the service starts at 11am, while the wake is to be held at the Great Hall, Leyton, 1 Adelaide Road, from 5pm to midnight.

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