Tributes have been paid to a devoted dad and popular local rugby player who died suddenly last month. David Britton, from Pontrhydyfen in Neath Port Talbot, has been remembered as the "life and soul" of every party and as someone his family and friends could always rely on.

He had struggled with his mental health for several years but was said to be in good spirits shortly before his death, so the 37-year-old's tragic passing came "out of the blue" and is a shock to all that knew him, his family said.

"We had the best relationship, we were best friends," David's heartbroken brother Lee Britton, 39, said. "There was only a year and a half age difference so we were really close and we only lived 100m apart. David had depression and he'd struggled with his mental health previously but lately he'd been ok. His death was a bit of a shock, it came out of the blue - he had seemed so happy at that moment in time. He'd just been away on holidays and he'd recently returned to rugby, things had been going really well."

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David's friend Daniel Owen, who has set up an online fundraiser for a local mental health charity in David's memory, further paid tribute to him and told WalesOnline: "David was great, he was the life and soul of the party. He was a bit of a boy, a bit of an 'edda [nutter]! He was always up for a laugh and he was always there for people as well. He worked as a nurse at Swansea Prison and he played for Pontrhydyfen rugby club. He had a good relationship with his family and with his daughter, who's a teenager." For the latest Neath Port Talbot news, sign up to our newsletter here

"David had struggled with his mental health for quite some time, so - with the support of the family - we [the rugby club] decided we'd raise money for Neath Port Talbot Mind Association in his memory," Daniel added. "We initially aimed for £500 but we've raised £3,000 now and want to raise as much as we can." Scroll down to read more about the fundraiser in David's memory.

Last week, many of David's family, friends and rugby teammates attended his funeral at Margam Crematorium and a celebration of his life was held at Pontrhydyfen RFC. In his euology, which WalesOnline has been given permission to share, Lee shared some of his favourite memories growing up with David and told of David's love of sport, holidays and his family and friends.

"The most important thing to David was his family and friends; and he had a lot of them! Our family grew by one more when David and Julie started looking after Shelby around seven years ago. In that time David brought Shelby up like she was his very own daughter. He loved her very much and cherished the good times they had together," Lee said.

David Britton pictured enjoying a drink on his holidays
The family of David Britton have paid tribute to him after his sudden death last month
David and his brother Lee enjoying a beer in London
David and his brother Lee had a fantastic relationship, this is one of Lee's favourite photos of the pair of them together
David had always loved rugby and recently got back involved with a local team
David had always loved rugby and recently got back involved with a local team

"We had a great friendship group in our younger days and got up to lots of fun things like young children should. There was no Xbox back then or mobile phones just a group of boys and girls playing hide and seek, football, hockey (yes, I know, hockey, The Mighty Ducks movies had been released and we all wanted to be on coach Bombay’s team!). Amongst other things, we loved pretending to be the Jamaican Bobsleigh team and would slide down the mountains on any piece of kitchen vinyl flooring we could get our hands on... David you may be up there and me down here but one day we will go marching on together. I love you, sleep tight brother."

Reflecting on the fundraiser for Neath Port Talbot Mind Association, Lee said: "If we save one person, or even help one person, from this, then we have done good."

David and his parents, Sharon and Kendall
David had a great relationship with his family | Pictured: David and his parents, Sharon and Kendall
David with his daughter Shelby, and his sister Samantha
David with his daughter Shelby, and sister Samantha
David loved camping with his brother, Lee and Lee's children
David loved camping with his brother, Lee and Lee's children

The description for the online fundraiser reads: "After losing a family member/teammate/friend earlier this month. Pontrhydyfen RFC are raising money in memory of David Britton in aid of Neath Port Talbot Mind Association. It has been a very difficult month for family and friends that knew David. David was the life and soul of the party and would light any room that he walked into.

"He will truly be missed by all that knew him. Pontrhydyfen RFC will be doing Movember to try and raise money for a charity that is close to everyone's heart. One in 4 people are affected by mental health issues. If anyone is struggling, please contact Neath Port Talbot Mind Association."

President and general manager of JustGiving (the site hosting the fundraising page), Pascale Harvie, said: "Congratulations to the Pontrhydyfen rugby team who have done an amazing job in raising vital awareness of men's mental health, in memory of their late friend and teammate David. From everyone at JustGiving we wish them the best of luck in reaching their fundraising goal."

As well as donating and raising awareness of their online fundraiser, David's team mates at Pontrhydyfen RFC are also growing their moustaches out this month, as part of the national Movember appeal raising awareness of men's health issues and men's suicide.

If you'd like to donate to the fundraiser in memory of David Britton, you can do so online here

David Britton pictured smiling
David has been remembered as the life and soul of every party, who was there for all his friends and family whenever they needed him
David and his daughter Shelby
David and his daughter Shelby
David and his best friend, Kelly
David and his best friend, Kelly

David's family had previously shared the news of his death in the South Wales Evening Post. The notice of his death, which appeared in the newspaper, read: "David Britton: RGN Nurse at H.M.P Swansea & Morriston Hospital. Sadly on Thursday, 12th October, 2023. David of Curwen Terrace, Pontrhydyfen.

"Devoted daddy of Shelby. Dearly loved son of Kendall & Sharon. Adored brother of Samantha & Lee. Dear brother-in-law of Alison and a cherished uncle of Thomas & William. A beloved grandson of Howell & Shirley and nephew of his aunties & uncles. David will be greatly missed by his loving family and many, many friends."

Where you can get support for your mental health in Wales

Mind Cymru - mental health charity working across Wales to support people in their communities. Call the infoline on 0300 123 33 93 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm for information on mental health problems, where to get help near you, treatment options, advocacy services. Mind can also be contacted by email:

Hafal - member-led charity supporting people with mental health problems, with a special emphasis on those with serious mental illness, and their carers and families. Phone: 01792 816 600/832 400 or email

Beat Cymru - leading eating disorder charity offering support and guidance for people worried about their own or someone else's health, support available 365 days a year on the Welsh helpline 0808 801 0433 or

Community Advice & Listening Line (CALL) - Mental health helpline for people in Wales which offers emotional support and information for anyone concerned about their own mental health or a friend/family member's mental health. Call 0800 13 27 37 or text 'help' to 81066

Samaritans - For confidential support, Samaritans can be contacted around the clock 365 days a year on 116 123

All information correct at time of publication - if you'd like a Mental Health service to be added, or amended, on this list email WalesOnline reporter Molly Dowrick:

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