A YOUNG dad and musician who died 10,000 miles away from his hometown will be remembered during a memorial night next month.
Ash Dean died on February 7 last year from pneumonia and septicemia after complaining of flu-like symptoms. He was just 24.
Ash died just a month after becoming a first-time dad to son Jayden, who turned a year old last Sunday.
He died at a friend’s home in Lemon Tree Passage, in New South Wales, Australia, five days after he had first texted his mum, Dorothy, in Hartlepool, telling her he had flu.
On Saturday, February 11, from 7pm, an open mic tribute night in Ash’s memory will be held in the upstairs room of The Clarendon pub, in Tower Street, Hartlepool.
Ash had set up home in Australia two years ago in the hope of making it big after years on the North-East music scene.
The aspiring singer/songwriter had played in various Hartlepool venues including Escobar, The Park Inn and The Nursery.
The event is being organised by Ash’s sister, Stephanie, a 21-year-old Durham University student, and Ash’s friends Rachael Evans and Michael Swinbourne.
Stephanie said: “At the funeral we didn’t get a lot of chance to talk to everyone that was there, and this time we are hoping it will be much more informal where everyone can enjoy themselves while remembering Ash.
“We have set the night up so it will almost be an open mic event for those who knew Ash, and the people that he used to play with in bands and in jam sessions.
“It’s nice to get people together who knew Ash and we would like to keep Ash’s memory alive in the way that he would have wanted it, through music.”
Lee Spearing, who sang at Ash’s funeral at Stranton Crematorium, will also play the song he sang at the service.
It is also hoped that Ash’s friend John Garbutt will play a song that he wrote specifically for Ash.
Steph added: “We never want Ash to be forgotten and we hope it will be a night where we can all remember him, and the fond memories we have of him, and especially centre it on music, as music was an important part of Ash’s life.
“He was always playing at open mic nights, in fact his friends in Australia say they owe so much to Ash for setting up their open mic nights in Lemon Tree Passage.”
His friends in Australia are sending footage of the last open mic night Ash played to be shown on the night.
Ash’s mum, Dorothy, a 56-year-old private healthcare company worker who is married to Michael, 58, and lives at Hartlepool Marina, said: “It’s been really, really tough, especially across Christmas and New Year – that wasn’t easy.
“The night will be emotional, but it will be nice to see Ash’s friends.”