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‘We loved him with all our hearts’ - Family’s moving tribute after sudden death of popular football referee

PUBLISHED: 15:35 04 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:35 04 December 2018

Daniel Mason pictured when he was an assistant referee at last season’s Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup Final at Needham Market between Felixstowe and Walton United and Stowmarket Town Picture: COURTESY OF SUFFOLK FA

Daniel Mason pictured when he was an assistant referee at last season’s Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup Final at Needham Market between Felixstowe and Walton United and Stowmarket Town Picture: COURTESY OF SUFFOLK FA

Archant

Emotional tributes have been paid to a popular football referee who suddenly died, with his family saying he has “left a big hole in our hearts”.

Daniel Mason is pictured in his new referee’s kit in April 2007. Picture: COURTESY OF SUFFOLK FADaniel Mason is pictured in his new referee’s kit in April 2007. Picture: COURTESY OF SUFFOLK FA

Daniel Mason first put on the traditional black kit in 2007 and has since become a popular referee across Suffolk.

It was said that the 33-year-old’s refereeing “meant the world to him” and he even enjoyed a period officiating games in Spain in June 2009.

Clubs across Suffolk have now been paying their own moving tributes to Daniel Mason after he died on November 21, with many taking to social media to pay their respects and a minute’s silence being held at games played over the weekend.

He leaves behind two children and his partner Zoe.

In a statement, his father David and mother Susan said: “We were very proud of Daniel and loved him with all our hearts.

“He did struggle with life but was always happy.

“Daniel has left a big hole in our hearts and will be missed every day.

“Daniel’s refereeing meant the world to him, in the past he had put it before work if he had to.

“We have been overwhelmed with the response and tributes paid to Daniel.”

Alan Dale, Suffolk FA senior referee development officer, said: “Daniel was a well-respected figure amongst his colleagues and the refereeing family will miss him dearly. “The infectious laugh that Dan possessed meant that he was a popular figure in any match day environment or dressing room. On behalf of everyone at Suffolk FA, our thoughts and condolences are with Daniel’s family.”

A funeral service will be held at St Andrew’s Church, Great Finborough on Friday, December 14 at 2pm.

Flowers may be sent to Meredith Greengrass Funeral Service, 9 Marriotts Walk, Stowmarket IP14 1AF.

Donations can be made to Suffolk Football Association and will be used for the development of referees in the county. These can also be sent to Meredith Greengrass Funeral Service.

■ Would you like to pay tribute to Daniel Mason? Write, giving your full contact details, to andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk

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