England

Hillsborough stories: David John Benson

David Benson Image copyright Hillsborough Inquests

A sales representative from Warrington, David Benson drove to the game with a friend, who survived.

This is the full statement to the inquests from his mother, Gloria Benson:

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Gloria Benson, the mother of David John Benson, and this is my husband, Brian, David's dad, our son Paul, who is David's twin brother, David's daughter Kirsty, and Lesley, David's partner of 25 years ago.

David and his twin brother, Paul, were born six weeks early on 20 November, 1966. Paul was born first, weighing four and a half pounds, and David a little heavier at five pounds.

David started prep school at the age of three, and primary school at the age of five.

He did very well at school and excelled in sport and was praised for writing interesting essays, though that wasn't always a good thing, as at one parents' evening we were shown an essay in which he had written about the local farmer showing his dad how to poach salmon out of the local river.

If anything went wrong in school or when they were playing out, it was always the twins who got the blame.

David and Paul got on very well together, but they were both very competitive.

We had a caravan in North Wales for 15 years and, when the boys were young, David joined in many of the activities, including crown green bowling. Very often the twins would end up in the children's final competition together and then it would be daggers drawn.

David played football for his junior school team, then he was chosen for Widnes Junior School team and he also played for the local village team where he was the leading goal scorer.

When he was 16, he moved into the Runcorn open-age league. To this day, this league still plays for the David Benson Memorial Trophy every year, and when we watch Paul's son, Jamie, who is 12 years old, play football for his local team, he so reminds us of David and the way he used to play.

David would have been so proud of his nephew.

'Loved budgies'

David was, of course, a Liverpool Football Club supporter, something he took from his grandad and myself.

He went to most of the home matches, but didn't usually attend away games. Because he was so keen on playing himself, he often had to miss the Liverpool games.

One of David's greatest loves from junior school age right up into his teenage years was to breed budgerigars. He took this hobby up after rescuing a stray budgie from a tree.

He asked around the neighbours for a spare cage to keep it in and, eventually, with the help of his dad, he built a garden aviary and started to breed, ending up with about 40 birds.

In those days, the youngsters had CB radios and had code names. His was 'Budgie Breeder'. David's dad took over the aviary after we lost David.

David also loved to go fishing, so when we went to our caravan, right from the age of five, we would often find him with his fishing rod on the river.

We woke up one morning about eight o'clock to find his wellingtons missing and a note left in their place, 'Gone fishing, dad'.

He did have a problem, though, at one time when an adult, who was fly fishing close to David, caught David's ear with a fly fishing hook and it had to be cut out in hospital.

We went to the caravan most weekends and lived there during our last school holidays. We would often visit during the winter. Even though we couldn't stay, we would take the sledges to play in the snow and a big pan of hotpot to keep us warm.

When we visited in the summer, the boys would make themselves useful by helping out on the local farm. Those years with the boys at the caravan hold the most precious memories for Brian and myself.

When David left school, he started work as a commercial trainee in a timber company in Widnes. He did extremely well and, at the age of 21, he was promoted to a company representative.

'Sorely missed'

Perhaps the best thing to come out of his job was to meet his partner Lesley there. When he was 21, he and Lesley had a daughter, Kirsty. She was just two years of age when her daddy died.

When Kirsty got married, she asked Uncle Paul to give her away and have the first dance with her. They danced to Luther Vandross, 'Dance with my father again'. This was very moving.

Kirsty is now 27 and has two children of her own, Cody, who is six, and Finn, who is 10 months old. David would have been so proud of his daughter and his grandchildren.

To this day, David is sorely missed by myself, his dad, his brother Paul, his daughter Kirsty, his partner Lesley and all his family.

Cody and Finn, his grandchildren, are being brought up to know all about Hillsborough and their grandad, David, who was so cruelly taken away before they even got a chance to meet and know him.

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