Woodland service celebrates the 'incredible' life of teacher and family man Darren Blyth
A service filled with stories has been held as the friends and family remembered much-loved teacher and family man Darren Blyth.
Led by humanist Chris May, he spoke of his early life as a “lovable and cheeky boy” who ensured there was never a dull moment for his family, including mother Jean and her partner Terry.
He had a passion for music, festivals and gigs and always ready for an adventure, sharing his joy for the great outdoors as a devoted dad to daughters Katrina and Abigail.
His service featured the music Barber's Adagio for Strings by William Orbit, Marc Almond and Sarah Cracknell’s version of I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten, Marz by John Grant and closed with Do You Realise by the Flaming Lips.
Mr May said one of his many “terrific moments” was as he crossed paths with wife Mel, going on to share 27 years together.
He said: “Despite current circumstances, we gather this afternoon so we can take this opportunity and reflect on the times of an incredible life.
"He squeezed into just 55 years what many would struggle to fit in 95.”
He spoke of how Darren, “intelligent, bright and gifted” changed so many lives, excelling as he returned to studies to follow biology, while also volunteering at Castle Eden Dene and for a Durham University project.
Speaking of his vocation as a teacher, including time at Pennywell’s Academy 360 and Monkwearmouth, Mr May said of his students: “It didn’t matter what background they came from, in Darren’s view everyone was worthy of opportunity.
"He had a genuine interest in others and ensured there was hope for everyone.”
Mr May said Darren had left an indelible mark on those he knew.
"It’s the memories of Darren which allow him to stay with you, in your hearts and minds.”
People were invited to wear an outfit right for the occasion – including one dressed as Captain America.
Mr May said: "Together this afternoon, among family, friends and superheroes, we have paid our tribute by saying our goodbyes to Darren.
“Remember him always and cherish those memories.”
Darren, a biology teacher at Stokesley School in Middlesbrough, went missing from his Trimdon Station home on Wednesday, April 14, sparking searches and a social media appeal by his family, backed by survival expert Ray Mears.
Durham Constabulary confirmed on Monday, April 26, they had found him in the Hawthorn area of East Durham the evening before.
Mel asked for no flowers to be bought for his service, instead asking people to make donation to the Durham Wildlife Trust in his memory, as he had been a member of the organisation.
We attended the service with the permission of Darren’s family.