*UPDATE* This appeal has now closed.  Thank you so much to everyone who donated, making it possible to give Daz the dignified and loving funeral that he deserved.

We were deeply saddened to hear one of our clients, Darren Barry Percy (Daz) passed away on the 9 October at the age of 47 years.

Many may know Daz, as he often sat on Pride Hill with his beautiful dog Sasha playing his penny whistle.

Whilst Daz had battled addiction and alcoholism and had been a client of the Ark’s for many years, Daz’s real story is a love story.

Daz had been with his partner Andrea (Ace) for over 20 years. Ace told us, “People said we were joined at the hip.”

They had lived together for many years and although they had a place to call home, they have been part of the Ark family, contributing as much to the people there as they received in support. With help and support, and their own sheer determination, Daz and Ace had recently broken their addiction to heroin and Ace is incredibly proud of this achievement.

Daz continued to live with alcoholism, which Ace described as his crutch. Ace says Daz was always a joker and despite his difficulties and challenges, he was always positive. “He used to say: When I get better I’m going to put the world to rights,” says Ace. “I just loved him so much; I feel like part of me is missing.”

Unfortunately, Daz and Ace had to move out of their home and had been living separately for a few weeks. Sadly, Daz passed away while living in temporary accommodation in the Sandwell and Dudley area and his body is still in the hospital there.

Ace is desperate to bring him back to his home town, Shrewsbury but the costs involved are way beyond her ability to pay.

When Ace came to see us at the Ark last week, she was extremely distressed as she can’t begin to organise a funeral and she hasn’t been able to see Daz since he died. We have spoken to a funeral director and transferred £1500 from our charity’s funds to bring Daz home but the total cost of the funeral will be £2864.

If the claim is approved, support from the Department of Work and Pensions will probably cover approximately half of this amount.

With Ace’s permission, we have written this post and are appealing to donors to help to raise the uncovered funeral costs that we anticipate to be as much as £2,000.

You can donate to this appeal by clicking here to visit our campaign page, or by popping in to the Ark Day Centre or Shop on Castle Foregate.

Please can you help us ensure one of our most well-known and much loved clients has a dignified and loving funeral, and Ace, and friends and colleagues have the opportunity to say goodbye to this much-loved man.