Hillsborough stories: David William Mather

David Mather Image copyright Hillsborough Inquests

A post office clerk from Huyton, David William Mather was a Liverpool FC season ticket holder. He drove to the match with four friends, Alan Woods, Mark Garratt, Alan Benson and Peter Wilkinson, who all survived

This is the full statement to the inquests from his brother, John Mather:

David William Mather was born on 17 October 1969 and was a son, a brother, grandson, nephew and cousin. David was my parent's first born and they waited seven years to conceive him.

The fact that they tried so hard and waited for so long for him to be brought into the world made him extra special. David had such a short life and only 19 years old when he was taken from us.

David had a quiet disposition, but at the same time was a typical joker with his friends and family.

I remember an occasion when we bought a mask of a wrinkly old man in Blackpool and took it in turns to scare drivers out the passenger window.

On one occasion David wore the mask when he opened the door to my Nan and he scared the living daylights out of her. The mask soon became known as the notorious 'Blackpool Mask'.

As a child, I recall the holidays we used to have together as a family. We only ever holidayed in this country, but had some wonderful times together in Wales, Cornwall and Devon, and we had day trips to Blackpool.

During our time in Devon, David and I went to the golf course and played in the sand dunes with our dog Sam.

As boys and the only two siblings, we also used to play fight together and of course David always won.

Chips from the chippy

We would also head down to Southport beach with my mother's family and spent the whole day there with our windbreakers and camper stove playing beach cricket.

My Nan would bring us boiled ham and bread for tea, which would be accompanied with chips from the local chippy. If we were lucky, then we would go on to the fair, as David was fond of the rides.

Image copyright Hillsborough Inquests

Christmas was when David was at his happiest. The first thing David did on Christmas Day was run downstairs and count his presents. I recall on one occasion he opened my presents by mistake and was chuffed to find out he still had some yet to open.

One of my most memorable Christmases is when David bought us computer games to play. We spent most of the day playing computer games together, especially as it was the thing in the '80s. Little did David know that this would spark my IT career.

We then had Christmas all over again with my mother's family on Boxing Day, exchanging presents and playing games. It was a family tradition for the children to play against the adults in a pool competition for a small trophy cup.

As one of the eldest, David led the kids and David would often win the competition. This was mainly because David was a keen snooker player and part of a club.

But David's true love was football. Like the thousands at the semi-final match at Hillsborough, David was mad on football. He was a season ticket holder and rarely missed a game.

David loved going to the games. It was one thing to do in the 1980s when Liverpool was at its height.

Ashes on the Kop

David took me to a game at Anfield; it was when Liverpool beat Arsenal 7-1. It was a wonderful experience and probably one of the first games I went to. David's ashes are in the corner of the Kop at Anfield.

David was always there for me as an older brother, driving me around when he first got his driving licence, especially to McDonald's drive-through. I blame him for me liking McDonald's.

I remember a funny occasion when I was learning to drive, and my friend and I decided it would be a good idea to borrow David's car.

I drove it back around the block, but I didn't know how to reverse, so we had to push it back. David soon found out and that was the last time I was allowed to sit in his car.

David was a bright lad and got all his O-levels. He always liked to read from a young age and was a massive Stephen King fan.

I think this was probably due to my aunty Jackie, who gave David the books once she had finished reading them.

We were very close to my mother's family and lived in close proximity to one another. My Nan often made us bananas and custard, which I hated but David adored.

'Life has never been the same since'

My parents divorced the year before David died. In that year, David soon became the man of the house and provided for both my mother and I.

He worked hard at the post office and applied to become a police officer and was waiting to be called for his medical test. He aspired to be an officer because he thought he could do good and because it was a safe, stable career.

David was always there for our Mum, giving most of his earnings to her at the end of the week and helping her carry out the weekly shop every Saturday morning.

Our Mum could not drive, so relied on David to chauffeur her around. We relied on him a lot and he never begrudged us.

Losing David greatly affected us and life has never been the same since.

We can only guess as to what his life may have held: marriage; children? These are things we will never know.

He will never know that he was an uncle to Tomas, and Tomas was denied a doting uncle, or see his cousins and their children.

He was not there to be my best man at my wedding and missed other numerous family weddings and celebrations which, without David, are always tinged with sadness.

Our mum never got to say goodbye to her son on that day and wishes more than anything that she had the chance to say goodbye to him one more time.

We miss him every day and wish on that fateful day that he had never left the house.

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