Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Dad's Warning after the Tragedy of Ryan

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Dad's Warning after the Tragedy of Ryan

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDY PASSANT andy.passant@eveninggazette.co.uk

A PROMISING young footballer died tragically at the age of 17 after his life descended into drink and drugs.

Popular teenager Ryan Gunn had taken cocaine and had been drinking before he took ill at his girlfriend's house.

An inquest heard how the Middlesbrough lad had shown great promise as a footballer from a young age.

But drink and drugs later took their toll on the former Pallister Park Primary and Unity City Academy pupil.

It tragically ended in Ryan's sudden and untimely death in September last year.

Today his family warned parents to be aware of the dangers of their children drinking and taking drugs.

His dad Paul Gunn said: "Have a look at what your kids are doing outside the house. "Look out for the warning signs. You don't know what they are doing."

Paul, 47, a bricklayer, added: "It was a shock to us how he declined.

"His eyes were getting blacker and he was getting thinner. You just think it is a phase."

Paul said his son had excelled at football from the age of seven, playing for Cargo Fleet Juniors.

Since his death the club has held an annual Ryan Gunn Memorial Trophy and funday.

With an aptitude for the sport - as seen in several Evening Gazette reports over the years - Ryan was picked at 15 to be captain of the under-16 boys' Middlesbrough Football Club in the Community team in the national Kickz tournament for young people.

But his parents told an inquest yesterday how their "cheeky but charming" son had changed.

Ryan had lived with his family in Kimberley Drive, Pallister Park. His mum Kathleen Pain, 48, said he was "a really good kid" who was "football mad".

But when he got older his behaviour and attitude changed "dramatically", she said.

Paul said their son seemed to change once he turned 16.

He started drinking and staying out, which affected his health and appearance. Paul said: "This wasn't the boy I knew."

He said people had asked for money to pay off his son's drug debts.

Ryan had been at his girlfriend Naomi Blackburn's house in Somerby Terrace, Middlesbrough, when he became unwell in September 2011. …

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