Fiona and Tim Spargo-Mabbs launch Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation launch charity 'to make his ecstasy death count'

Fiona and Tim Spargo-Mabbs

Fiona and Tim Spargo-Mabbs

First published in News
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Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

The parents of a teenager who died after taking ecstasy have said saving lives through a charity founded in his name would be "the next best thing" to having him back.

Fiona and Tim Spargo-Mabbs launched the Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation in memory of their 16-year-old son, who died in January after falling unconscious at a rave.

Daniel, of Rymer Road, Addiscombe, bought MDMA with friends in the days before the rave in Hayes.

His parents now plan to use the charity to shine a light on the potentially tragic impact of illegal drugs in the hope of "making Dan's death count".

Mrs Spargo-Mabbs, 46, said: "Why we are doing it, our prayer, is that if we can do anything to stop this happening to anybody else it is then making something good out of this otherwise completely horrible thing that has happened.

"It is making Dan's death count somehow."

Mr Spargo-Mabbs, 50, added: "If we show young people what the risks are and stop one person going down that road, we won't get Dan back but we will get the next best thing."

The couple said they had "learned such a lot" in the "surreal" weeks since Daniel's death, including the true scale of drug-related deaths.

Mrs Spargo-Mabbs said: "I had no idea that a couple of nice boys from a very good school in Croydon would have drug dealers' numbers on their mobiles. I didn't realise how prevelant it all was.

"There are things that you worry about as a parent and drugs and alcohol are among them, but I didn't realise that it was quite so much a significant risk as it was."

She added: "We've also come to realise the number of deaths that there are from similar things.

"It is not just that there was Leah Betts in 1995 and now Dan in 2014. It is happening to families all over the country all the time.

"We had a message from a 17-year-old in Cardiff whose friend who was also 17 died nine days before Daniel did, but it got no press coverage.

"There are all these young people dying and yet they still don't seem to think that it's a risky thing to do.

"It's this naivety and this fatal combination of the availability and affordability and the way it seems to be becoming quite a normal thing to do."

Croydon Guardian: Daniel Spargo-Mabbs

Daniel Spargo-Mabbs was a student at Archbishop Tenison's Church of England High School

She added: "How can you take some white powder from somebody and assume it is going to be safe? Drug dealers don't have chemistry degrees and on the whole they probably don't care.

"You are putting your life in the hands of a drug dealer.

"It is not like the whole safe sex thing, where it  is silly to say to kids just, 'don't do it,' because they are going to do it anyway. It is a complete different debate.

"This is like you are always having unprotected sex in a dark alley with a complete stranger. That's the parallel. Drug dealers won't have the faintest idea what they are mixing it and cutting it with.

"You could have used the same dealer and got what you think is the same thing and been fine 50 times, and then the 51st time it is cut with something else and it has a completely different reaction and then that's your time.

"Dan didn't think it would be him and none of them would have done it if they thought it was going to end up like this."

The couple now plan to work with Daniel's friends to get their message out to other teenagers, as well encouring discussion among families and raising awareness of other drug-related deaths.

The foundation's first project will involve filming Daniel's friends' responses to his death.

In the long-term, his parents hope to improve drugs education in the national curriculum.

And they would like to profile other drugs victims on the charity's website to document cases that receive less publicity than Daniel's.

Mrs Spargo-Mabbs said: "If anybody knows anyone who has died in similar circumstances, give us their name and their dates and their photo and we will make a kind of memory wall.

"Because not only is that a way of marking these other deaths, which are just as significant to their family and friends as Dan's is to us, but also to try to give a picture to young people that this is big."

Croydon Guardian: Daniel Spargo-Mabbs

Daniel Spargo-Mabbs

The charity has already received more than £5,000 in donations and fundraising and there are plans for a sponsored 100-mile bike ride.

Daniel's parents and 18-year-old brother Jacob are planning a fun run to mark his birthday in May.

Mr Spargo-Mabbs said: "It would principally be something to make his birthday a less awful day, because we have spent previous ones with him having fun and doing some of things he did. He was a clown. A great sense of humour."

The family also continue to await the results of further toxicology tests that they hope will provide answers about his death, which they are still struggling to comprehend.

His mum said: "We are probably still in shock. It is so difficult to process that Dan was here and then all of a sudden he's never coming home.

"We don't actually really believe it has happened."

Two men have been charged with supplying Class A drugs in connection to Daniel's death.

Nicqueel Pitrora, 18, from Croydon, and Ryan Kirk, 20, from Beckenham, will appear at Isleworth Crown Court on April 23.

For more information on the Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation click here.

Comments (2)

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9:17pm Sat 8 Mar 14

christhegoth says...

They need to be very careful with this.

Much as the impurities factor they've mentioned is correct what they see is not what the kids see. They see death everywhere. The kids see parties, fun, & hugs everywhere.

For example:

There were ~30 deaths from Ecstasy last year ( approx 650,000 used. 0.0046% died ), and ~40,000 from alcohol ( approx 35m used. 0.11% died ) in the same year. Alcohol ( including when it is mixed with cocaine ) is usually what causes punch-ups in the City Centre ( due to how it induces violence AND paranoia ). Ecstasy is the opposite in the moods it creates, and just makes you all huggy and loved up.

Get the message wrong and the kids will just see you as crazy ( and as such ignore you ). Buying street drugs IS a sometimes-fatal lottery, but the last thing you need is kids ignoring the experts and going it alone.
They need to be very careful with this. Much as the impurities factor they've mentioned is correct what they see is not what the kids see. They see death everywhere. The kids see parties, fun, & hugs everywhere. For example: There were ~30 deaths from Ecstasy last year ( approx 650,000 used. 0.0046% died ), and ~40,000 from alcohol ( approx 35m used. 0.11% died ) in the same year. Alcohol ( including when it is mixed with cocaine ) is usually what causes punch-ups in the City Centre ( due to how it induces violence AND paranoia ). Ecstasy is the opposite in the moods it creates, and just makes you all huggy and loved up. Get the message wrong and the kids will just see you as crazy ( and as such ignore you ). Buying street drugs IS a sometimes-fatal lottery, but the last thing you need is kids ignoring the experts and going it alone. christhegoth
  • Score: -3

9:27pm Sat 8 Mar 14

christhegoth says...

My own personal viewpoint is a touch controversial:

Because of the impurities you need to educate kids on how to survive a 'bad one' in the same way you teach them how to survive alcohol poisoning. I genuinely do not believe you'll stop kids taking drugs. But if you can get them to shop smarter and also look after themselves better ( I used to carry a thermal blanket like the ones used by marathon runners, for example ) hopefully fewer people will come in injured ( or, heaven-forbid, dead ).

'Hey kids, don't take drugs' is reliably ignored. It always has been. For the reasons stated in my first comment. The parents just look crazy to the kids.

One of the major sources of injury is not the drugs as well. It's the violence that comes from interacting with, now better armed, drug dealers. Cross a drug dealer and you could end up with a major case of PTSD ( Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ).
My own personal viewpoint is a touch controversial: Because of the impurities you need to educate kids on how to survive a 'bad one' in the same way you teach them how to survive alcohol poisoning. I genuinely do not believe you'll stop kids taking drugs. But if you can get them to shop smarter and also look after themselves better ( I used to carry a thermal blanket like the ones used by marathon runners, for example ) hopefully fewer people will come in injured ( or, heaven-forbid, dead ). 'Hey kids, don't take drugs' is reliably ignored. It always has been. For the reasons stated in my first comment. The parents just look crazy to the kids. One of the major sources of injury is not the drugs as well. It's the violence that comes from interacting with, now better armed, drug dealers. Cross a drug dealer and you could end up with a major case of PTSD ( Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ). christhegoth
  • Score: -2

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