Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Saturday, 18 October 2008 14:40 UK

Club pays tribute to rugby player

Daniel James
Daniel James was paralysed during a training session

A paralysed rugby player who died in a Swiss assisted suicide clinic had "tremendous potential" in the sport, his former club said.

Daniel James, 23, from Worcester, died last month. He had suffered a collapsed spine in a scrum during a training session at Nuneaton Rugby Club in 2007.

Nuneaton's team manager John Green said Mr James joined the club in September 2006 and was a "real character".

Mr James' parents have said he did not want to live a second-class existence.

Julie and Mark James, from Sinton Green, Worcester, said their son had tried several times to kill himself before he "gained his wish".

The former pupil at Worcester Royal Grammar School was paralysed from the chest down as a result of the accident in March 2007.

A trust set up in his name has since raised nearly 25,000 for spinal research.

'England potential'

Mr Green said Daniel James was brought to Nuneaton in 2006 by the club's former director of rugby who had coached him at Loughborough University.

Mr James also played for the England Universities rugby team and England Students team.

Mr Green said: "He was equally competent as a hooker or as a flanker. It's a tremendous loss to the club."

Keith Howells, president of Nuneaton Rugby Club, said he was convinced Mr James would have made the main England team.

He said: "The guy was a fantastic player. It's affected some of our players badly."

'Determined' man

Assisted suicide is illegal in the UK, although the practice is tolerated by the authorities in Switzerland.

West Mercia Police said they had been in contact with a man and a woman following the death.

The clinic Dignitas, where all known British assisted suicides have taken place, said that due to privacy laws it could not disclose whether Mr James was one of its members.

His parents said his death was "no doubt a welcome relief from the 'prison' he felt his body had become and the day-to-day fear and loathing of his living existence".

"This is the last way that the family wanted Dan's life to end but he was, as those who know him are aware, an intelligent, strong-willed and some say determined young man."

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18 Oct 08 |  Hereford/Worcs
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17 Oct 08 |  Health

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