Legacy of popular football fan lives on after brave cancer battle

Touching tributes have been paid to David Chapman. Picture: The Chapman family

Touching tributes have been paid to David Chapman. Picture: The Chapman family - Credit: Archant

He touched the lives of so many people, and now the legacy of a popular man is set to continue after his death from an extremely rare form of cancer.

The Kirkley and Pakefield Knights U9 team with their new kit which has been unveiled in memory of Da

The Kirkley and Pakefield Knights U9 team with their new kit which has been unveiled in memory of David Chapman. Picture: The Chapman family - Credit: Archant

Family and friends of David Chapman, who died in May after bravely battling a “one-in-a-million” type of cancer, have presented a football kit in his memory to aspiring youth footballers in Lowestoft.

After being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in the bladder, called Angiosarcoma, just a few days after his 30th birthday in August last year, Mr Chapman was given the all clear and was told he was cancer free in May this year.

Family and friends of the much-loved and sorely missed David Chapman honour the West Ham United fan

Family and friends of the much-loved and sorely missed David Chapman honour the West Ham United fan as a new sponsored football kit is presented to Kirkley and Pakefield Knights U9 team in his memory. Picture: The Chapman family - Credit: Archant

But just three weeks later it was discovered that the cancer had returned and spread to his stomach, as the 30-year-old died peacefully, surrounded by his family, at The Royal Marsden Hospital in London on May 29.

Praising the support and care that Mr Chapman had received during treatment at The Royal Marsden Hospital in London, they set up a GoFundMe Memorial Fund page with the aim of raising £1,000 for the hospital to research a cure into this particular type of cancer.

With the hope that Mr Chapman’s legacy would live on as other families are helped in the future, the fund has now raised more than £12,500.


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Sister Emily Chapman said they would deliver the monies to The Royal Marsden Charity Sarcoma Team at the London hospital directly as “one last thank you for everything they did for David and our family.”

Ms Chapman said: “It is an amazing amount.

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“David was also part of a Fantasy Football league and instead of awarding the cash prize to the winners, it was decided that this money should be donated to the family as part of his legacy.”

Friend D’Jamel Kareche said: “Dave had been part of our group of mates for just over 15 years.

“We created a fantasy football group that Dave was always a part of, and each year we would pay money into a pot and the winner would take all.

This would normally be Dave every year – and we had been doing it for seven years.

“This year was different, as we lost Dave mid season, so we decided to end the league.

“Dave, would you believe, was actually top of the league by one point at the time we ended it.”

Mr Kareche added: “We then all chipped in and topped the winnings up and donated it to Dave’s mum and it was decided to spend it on something to remember Dave by.

“We all agreed that finding a team at Kirkley and Pakefield FC to sponsor would be a great way to remember and carry on Dave’s legacy, as he lived for football – especially the claret and blue.

“I then found a team that played in the claret colour and it took around three months to plan the kit and sponsor to get it perfect to suit the team and to remember Dave by – including a West Ham badge with the dates inside it and for the kit to arrive.

“We then arranged the day to reveal the kit to Dave’s family and for the team to play their first game in it – as for us it was all about Dave’s passion for football and a legacy to inspire others.”

A former Dell Primary, Elm Tree Middle and Kirkley High School pupil from Lowestoft, Mr Chapman loved football and had been a West Ham United season ticket holder since he was 15.

Now, the David Chapman memorial kit is being proudly worn by Kirkley and Pakefield Knights U9 – with the claret and blue strip particularly poignant for the ardent West Ham fan.

With ‘Chapman 1989-2020’ and the West Ham motif emblazoned across the kit, alongside the Kirkley and Pakefield logo, Ms Chapman said: “We gave the money donated to our family to kit the football team out with a new sponsored home and away strip, training wear and waterproof jackets.

“Its just what David would’ve wanted.

“Anthony Ogogo was one of David’s best mates, and Anthony’s nephew plays on this team – it is a lovely legacy.”

This Friday, November 6 a special fundraising event – A Day for Dave – will be held at the Asda store in Lowestoft where he used to work.

Staff will be dressing up as superheroes in his memory, and there will be exercise bikes in store as a sponsored ride is held with people cycling the equivalent distance of a visit to the London Stadium – home of West Ham – and back.

Collection buckets will be on hand as further funds are raised for The Royal Marsden Charity Sarcoma Team.

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