Daniel Harvey (1971-2015)
My older brother Dan died on 7 June, aged only 43. It's been a terrible shock. The funeral took place last Thursday, and as a family we're very grateful to all the friends and colleagues who were able to join us to say a very fond farewell. I wrote a few words about Dan for the service, and rather than let them disappear I thought I'd post them here just to keep a record, and on the off-chance you might like to learn a very small amount about a brilliant person gone far too soon.
Dan wasn’t just my only brother. He’s the only friend I’ve known my whole life. I can’t sum up how great he was in a couple of minutes, and yet at the same time it’s a paradox that in a way I can sum him up in a couple of words: Sport and Comedy. So let’s take a moment to celebrate sport and comedy. These were two of Dan’s favourite things, and together they answer an all-important question: Why Crystal Palace? 35 years a fan, a season-ticket holder for a quarter of a century - if you ever saw a display of unwavering loyalty, arguably flying in the face of all common sense, this was it. But none of us need any proof. One of Dan’s greatest qualities was that he was loyal to his core. He also had a fierce sense of right and wrong, so much so that he’s boycotting the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar.
Many of you will know that Dan was partial to a comedy quote or two, and I think he wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t take the opportunity to share a couple with you now on his behalf. So after mentioning the Eagles, now for something completely different, because bro is thoughtfully reminding us of another famous bird: he has ceased to be, bereft of life, he rests in peace. He is an ex-Harvey, who’s kicked the bucket, hopped the twig, bit the dust, and gone to join the choir invisible. And being self-confessedly tone-deaf, it’s actually the first time that Dan has been accepted into a choir. I think he’s telling us that anything is possible.
For whatever Dan may have lacked in melody he made up for a thousand times over with his passion and enthusiasm. He loved life and the experiences it brought. And he saw so much. To paraphrase one of his favourite films - 1991 Christmas classic Bernard and the Genie - the ending sees the Genie, who once upon a time was friends with Jesus, tell Bernard: “When you’re looking through that old Bibble, and it says ‘and the multitude gathered’, remember one of them is a very good friend of yours.” Well, whenever you see a clip of Gazza's goal against Scotland, Cantona's kung-fu kick, Ian Wright as a Wembley super sub, Hedgehunter winning the National, Gareth Southgate's missed penalty, the hundredth Test at Lord's (including a pitch invasion at the end), the Paralympic closing ceremony, Chelsea lifting this year’s league title, (and many more), remember - one of that multitude is a very good friend of ours.
To tweak one final quote, from one of his all-time favourite comedy sketches: You see that funny, bright and life-loving bloke, who we all love very much? That's Dan, that is.
For the next piece of music at the service, we played an audio montage of comedy clips, some of which are popular classics, others more particular to Dan's taste. I've included the track here, and as Dan might say, 500 points to anyone who can identify them all.