Tributes for former Padiham landlord Darral Fish who fostered over 50 children
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Darral Fish, who was 59, took on the role of foster carer with his wife Julie in 2009 after spending 20 years working for the Royal Mail where he became known as a ‘human map’ as he knew practically every road and street across the UK.
After being accepted by Lancashire County Council to become foster carers either as respite, emergency or task centred placements, Darral loved the role and became an important figure in all of his foster children’s lives. To the day he died Darral was still part of the fostering community and had regular contact with all of his foster children and their ‘forever’ families.
Darwen born Darral met Julie on holiday in Greece in 1999 and in 2003 the couple took over the Railway Pub in Padiham.
Julie’s daughter Ashleigh said: “This is where they made lots of friends and became well known around Padiham. In the pub both Darral and my mum held birthday, Hallowe’en, Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties which will be remembered by so many people. At The Railway my mum and Darral created so many meaningful memories for lots of customers and friends.
“For many people in Padiham at the time the Railway was the place to be. I remember on Christmas Day the pub would be shut by 3pm.
“My mum and Darral would always invite those who would be spending Christmas alone to come and have Christmas dinner with our family. This made our table huge, filled with so many customers and friends.”
A passionate football fan, Darral was a Man City supporter and a member of Main Road and Etihad Stadium. He even has his name in the tunnel at Etihad. A talented player, Darral played for Blackburn Rovers and Lancashire from the age of 12 to 15. He was offered an apprenticeship but unfortunately hurt his ankle which meant he could no longer play. Darral also played cricket for Cherry Tree and participated Crown Green bowling which he loved to do. As well as a football fan, Darral was also a fan of horse racing. Every year Darral would celebrate Cheltenham with his friends and The Grand National with his family.
Ashleigh added: “Darral was a very social person and would talk to anyone. He had many friends and enjoyed a drink with his friends at the Top Club (Working Men’s club) in Padiham.
“ ‘During 2022 my mum an Darral had four children under the age of 5 in their care. Three of these children Darral and my mum had adopted in the years previous.
“Their roles as foster carers made their household such a lively but loving home. Darral would spend most of his time on family walks, visiting extended family and spending quality family time at their lodge in The Lake District. Darral loved to spend a Friday night playing games such as Ludo and Cluedo. We even got the old Wii out from time to time and played mini golf. During Lockdown we played Monopoly which eventually was banned from the house due to the family being so competitive but these are all the memories we cherish. “
The couple married at the former Padiham Methodist Church in 2003. It was during the adoption process in 2019 of one of their foster children that Darral was diagnosed with a type of Leukaemia called CLL. In 2020, after having chemotherapy, Darral went into remission. In October 2022 Darral fell in with a chest infection which led to pneumonia, sepsis and anaemia. After failing to recover well Darral was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and Myelodysplastic Leukaemia (MDS).
Ashleigh said: “Told that he only had six to 12 months to live Darral put up the biggest fight of his life.”
Darral’s funeral will be held on Friday (July 14th) leaving his home at 10am. The cortege will journey up Station Road past the old Railway Pub to All Saints with Saint John the Baptist Church at 10:30am. This will be followed by burial at St John’s Cemetery.
The celebration of Darral’s life with be held at Padiham Working Men’s Club on Sunday, August 20th and there will be also be a charity football match and family fun day at Padiham Football Club. All money raised will be going to Pendleside Hospice and The Christie Hospital Manchester.
Darral also leaves his son Coby, step daughter Carly, stepson Aaron and three adopted children.