Our Director - Dan Hill
Dan became Director in March 2019 following our founder’s passing the month previously. He was unsure as to whether to take on the role because in his own words ‘How the hell do you follow your hero?’ but follow him he has and DWA is now flourishing and growing as a result.
Here is his story
‘I am a warrior, I have been surrounded by violence my entire life from contact sports at an early age, through my military service, prison service and even as a bouncer but there is nothing on this earth that can damage anyone as deeply as to lose a child….. I’ve lost twelve!!!’
Dan and his wife of twenty years, Jade had suffered eleven miscarriages throughout their marriage and although deeply affected Dan continued to work overseas in conflict zones around the world. In 2013 however their lives were shattered when baby Isabella was killed following medical errors at just eight days old.
They fought side by side with the Justice For Isabella Hope facebook page and forced through changes to neonatal medical practices across the UK.
‘At this point my head more or less fell off!! I had nothing left to fight for, we had done all we could do for our little girl. I found myself reacting, hitting out, I wasn’t a nice man and I am not proud of who I was at that stage….. then Paul found me’
Paul had watched the campaign and subsequent success and he asked Dan to join his admin team. It gave him a purpose, finding that helping other bereaved parents helped him, he grabbed the opportunity and in 2016 was awarded Inspirational Father Of The Year, an award won previously by Paul two years earlier. Dan freely admits that it’s not about awards but any recognition gives credence to the work you do even when you think nobody notices.
Then Paul fell ill, Paul’s daughter, Leigh, had asked Dan to travel down and visit Paul in hospital at 1am and they spent a couple of hours together, there was laughter as usual and some tears. Hours later Paul fell asleep.
‘Outside of my losses, Paul’s passing was the worst day of my life. When Leigh rang me to say he had gone I cried for hours. He was my best friend, my mentor and he had saved my life and those of many, many others…. Now he was gone’
The future was at best uncertain for DWA.
When Paul tragically died the whole loss community mourned, none more than Dan and the other admins who had lost not just a figurehead, a leader but also the man who had dragged them kicking and screaming from the deepest abyss of grief when there was nowhere for grieving dads to turn. Dozens of members had approached national charities only to be told that there was no place for them.
Dan immediately streamlined the Charity, returning it to its roots of being purely a support organisation, reducing its costs, gaining new funding avenues and, with the help of a fantastic team and Paul’s family, securing the long term future of the Charity.
The membership is now growing again, its reach is affecting and helping more and more people at the worst time of their lives. With some huge projects in the pipeline which will affect the child loss community worldwide it’s a role that keeps Dan focussed and makes him immensely proud.
‘It’s what DWA was set up to do and all involved in DWA are immensely proud of what we have and what we are yet to achieve.’