Simon Dobbin: Funeral of football fan who died after hooligan attack

Simon Dobbin: Funeral of football fan who died after hooligan attack

The funeral has taken place of a football fan who suffered horrific injuries when he was attacked by opposition hooligans in 2015.

Simon Dobbin, 48, was left brain-damaged in the assault after a match in Southend, Essex, five years ago.

The Cambridge United fan died in his sleep at his home in Mildenhall, Suffolk, on 21 October.

Mourners lined the route as the funeral cortege made its way to a church in the town for the service.

The funeral – a private family service due to Covid-19 restrictions – took place at about 12:30 GMT at St Mary’s Church.

Mr Dobbin was left unable to walk, talk or move independently when he was attacked after a match against Southend United on 21 March 2015.

Twelve men were jailed in July 2017 in connection with the assault.

Mr Dobbin’s plight came to national attention after his home was adapted and transformed by the BBC’s DIY SOS team. The show aired in January 2019.

Announcing the death of her “gentle giant” last month, his wife Nicole said her husband’s death had come as a shock, as he had been “his usual self, laughing and smiling the day before”.

Mourners and well-wishers lined the streets of Mildenhall, the busy market falling silent as the funeral cortege carrying the wicker coffin of Mr Dobbin made its way to the church.

Flowers in the hearse spelt out the words “husband” and “Dobbo” – as Mr Dobbin was known to his friends.

A number of his former RAF colleagues and friends were in attendance.

Mr Dobbin, who left the RAF in 1999, was 18 when he and friend Steve Simms joined up.

Flying Officer Simms said: “We embarked on an adventure together, joining the Air Force – and 30 years later we still remain the best of friends.”

Stuart Wood, who was chaplain of Cambridge United when Mr Dobbin was attacked, and helped the family to plan the funeral, said the service was not only a chance to say goodbye, but also “to say thank you for a life that’s been given to us, and the way our lives have been blessed to have known Simon – he’s enriched our lives in so many different ways”.

Following the funeral, the Last Post was played as his coffin was carried from the church to make its final journey to the town’s cemetery.

A petition started by the Dobbin family calling for violent offenders to contribute to the cost of NHS care for their victims has been signed by almost 290,000 people.

Following the announcement of Mr Dobbin’s death last month, Essex Police confirmed it would “review the initial investigation” into his attack.

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