Tears for Danny, 16

Runshaw College student Daniel Nicholls, who died aged 16 at home in The Spinney, Chorley, on Monday, December 10.
Runshaw College student Daniel Nicholls, who died aged 16 at home in The Spinney, Chorley, on Monday, December 10.

A devastated family have paid tribute to a 16-year-old who died suddenly after he was found collapsed.

Leyland student Daniel Nicholls, known to friends as Danny, was found at his home in The Spinney, off Preston Road, Chorley, by his sister Leanne Clarke at 2pm on Monday.

Parents Lorraine and Eric Nicholls, both 51, and sisters Leanne, 29, and Louise Brookes, 32, now face weeks of waiting to find out what caused Daniel’s death, as he had shown no sign of illness.

Lorraine, a secretary at Duke Street Primary School, Chorley, broke down in tears as she said: “He was my boy.

“He was quiet at home with us but all of his friends are saying how much of a comedian he was.

“We had no idea how popular he was, and we’ve been inundated with texts and Facebook messages from people all over the country telling us how much they will miss him.

“He was a good lad – he was never any bother, he wasn’t into drink or drugs, he didn’t hang around on streets, and he was a homebird.

“There were a few times when he’d gone to sleep over at a friend’s house and he rang me to get picked up.”

The ICT student at Runshaw College, formerly of Southland’s High School, was nicknamed ‘Mushroom’ by Eric, for his love of playing XBox games in his room.

Eric said: “He loved sitting in the dark in his room, eating and playing his computer games.

“He had a whole community of people online who he became friends with by playing Call of Duty, and he used to edit video of clips of the games and upload them to YouTube.

“These people, from as far away as Ireland, have sent messages of condolence, saying it’s not the same without him.”

On Monday, Leanne, 29, a hairdresser, had gone to remind Daniel to do some jobs around the house on his day off from college, when she became concerned she couldn’t get a response by throwing stones at his bedroom window.

She then saw that he had collapsed downstairs and forced her way in through the door. Emergency services were called but paramedics were unable to revive Daniel.

Louise, a teacher, said: “We’re all still in shock. It hasn’t sunk in yet that he’s not coming home.

“Me and Leanne are a lot older than him, and we were watching him grow up from being a boy to being a young man.

“We all got together the day before he died because it was our grandad’s birthday. We’re all glad that happened.”

Daniel also leaves nephews Harry, two, and Jacob, four months, who his family say he was extremely fond of.

Louise added: “We will all get together as a family for Christmas for the sake of Harry and Jacob, who are too young to understand, but we won’t be having a meal or anything much more than that.”

Eric, a lorry driver, added: “I was looking forward to doing the normal fatherly things with him as he grew up, like teaching him how to drive.

“We were going to get him a moped because all of his friends are getting them, and his grandparents had even saved up some money to pay for his lessons.”

Lorraine added: “We’re getting support from Daniel’s friends and I can’t put into words how proud I am of them and of him.”

Daniel was a fan of Blackburn Rovers, where Lorraine works as a steward, and he had been a mascot for the club when he was nine years old. He had also played football for Coppull United FC.

Dave Houghton, director of football at Coppull, said: “Danny played for our academy for one season when he was 13.

“A lot of the lads who are still playing for us were good friends with him, and were thinking of him at training on Monday night.”

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said they were treating the death as non-suspicious and a file had been passed to the coroner.

An inquest has been opened but tests, which can taken several weeks to come back, may be required to determine the cause of death.

No funeral arrangements have yet been made.