David Leonard Thomas travelled to Sheffield for the match by car with friends, including brothers Christopher Traynor and Kevin Traynor, who also lost their lives at Hillsborough. David had only recently started a business as a painter, decorator and repairman; his proud parents, Henry and Valerie, were enjoying watching their son 'becoming a man'.
Valerie, quoting David's brother-in-law from 1989, told the new inquests that with David: "What you saw and heard was what you got. His broad grin always met you, no matter what problems of his own lay beneath."
David Leonard Thomas was born on May 14, 1965. He was 23 when he died. My husband, Henry Thomas, who sadly passed away 17 years ago, was as proud of him as I was.
He was just becoming a man when he was taken from us.
I remember he used the money he received for his 21st birthday as a deposit on a small house. He then started his own business as a painting and decorating and small business repairs man.
David was quite successful in his short life. I find it hard to talk about him now.
I think it would be most apt if a tribute written by his brother-in-law at the time of the Hillsborough tragedy is read out. It reads as follows:
'I had the pleasure of meeting David. He was quiet, predictable and the type of person who would take the shirt off his back to use as a bandage if it was necessary.
'His willingness and attitude as regards helping other people, notwithstanding any narrow-minded critics around him, was his greatest asset. He had no hidden character.
'What you saw and heard was what you got. His broad grin always met you, no matter what problems of his own lay beneath.
'He will be deeply missed by all those who were fortunate enough to meet him.
'So to you, David Thomas, and all those who died with you, rest in peace.'
Rest in Peace