The family of Jess Danby, who died following a road crash on the A52 at Wyberton Fen on October 1, have released a tribute to the young woman who wanted to be a TV and film star.
The family describe aspiring TV and film actor Jess, 19 , from Donington, as “a star in the making, a sweet, playful force of nature” and say they “can now only imagine the highlights she would have brought to the world of entertainment”.
They say Jess is loved and missed by so very many family and friends, who continue to be “devastated by the tragic loss of this truly wonderful young woman”.
The family tribute reads:
Jess Danby was a beautiful, inspirational young lady, who lived life with joyful determination as she pursued her ambition to become a successful TV and film actress.
Born on 3rd June 1996 at the Westwood hospital in Beverley, East Yorkshire, Jess lived her first three years near there in the village of Lockington with her parents Dawn and Jim, and elder sister Lucy.
After her parents’ marriage failed, Jess moved with Dawn, Lucy, step-father Terry, sister Sian and step-sister Hannah to the village of Carlton, near Selby in North Yorkshire when she was four.
The family then moved to Swineshead in Lincolnshire, where for several years they owned and ran the village shop known as North End Stores, before finally moving to their current home in Donington near Boston.
Jess attended Kirton Middlecott School where her love of acting blossomed.
Here she performed in several school performances, including ‘Murder at Middleton Manor’ and ‘Little Shop of Horrors’.
Her next step was to study a BTEC in Performing Arts at Stamford College, where she completed the course with flying colours.
At this point she made the decision not to take the formal route of attending RADA or other such high-profile acting schools because she firmly believed her future lay in TV and film roles which would be achievable via a more direct approach.
So she found work locally in order to provide an income while pursuing her ambitions.
Her early jobs were such as a fruit and flower packer at companies in the Boston area, until in 2014 she took employment at Caffe Nero in Boston where she became a fully-trained Barista. Here she made many friends and was extremely popular with the regular customers.
It was at Caffe Nero that Jess’ caring and joyful character really began to shine, while each day her ambition to become a professional actress was gaining momentum.
When not at work, she eagerly consumed any advice and information that would help her on her path.
She began to forge contacts with respected people in the performing arts world, who helped her produce the relevant promotional materials that every professional actor requires in order to attract roles.
In the few months before her death, she had attended photo shoots and screen actor workshops in London, filmed a show reel with a company in Cardiff to highlight her talents, acted in a couple of episodes of a small-budget series (Passing Over) shot on location in Manchester, and was on the books of a London-based acting agency.
A larger London agency was in discussions with her and was due to sign her up in the near future once she had gained a few more film acting credits.
To hasten this, Jess had also begun to write her own scripts for short films that she herself would star in. In her own words, the “creative juices” were really flowing.
Although Jess was taken from us far too early, we can at least be grateful that she was at an extremely happy point in her life. She enjoyed learning to snowboard, playing guitar, bodyboarding, parties and trips to the cinema with her close friends.
And this happiness spread to those around her too. Just around the corner from Caffe Nero is the Centrepoint Outreach drop-in centre for homeless and vulnerable people, and because such issues were close to Jess’ heart she struck up a relationship with this organisation.
She would often take them the excess food from Caffe Nero that would otherwise have been wasted - a much appreciated gesture.
Living out in the countryside meant some form of personal transport was necessary, and for Jess this was her beloved moped, which she was riding to work on the morning of October 1st when she was involved in a collision with another vehicle. Tragically, she succumbed to massive brain injuries the next day in the intensive care unit at Nottingham Queen’s Medical Centre.
As Jess had already signed herself up to the organ donor register, the family bravely accepted her wishes and consequently there are now four other women in the country whose lives have been greatly improved thanks to the organs she donated.
Jess’ funeral at Boston Crematorium on 21st October was a colourful celebration of her life, attended by approximately 130 family and friends.
This was followed by an after-service gathering, very generously hosted by Caffe Nero, which was a beautiful and immensely kind gesture by them.
A collection at the crematorium raised £1000 for charity, with Caffe Nero adding a further donation of £1000, and this has been divided between Centrepoint Outreach and the Adult Intensive Care Unit at Nottingham Queen’s Medical Centre.
Jess Danby was a star in the making, a sweet, playful force of nature, and we can now only imagine the highlights she would have brought to the world of entertainment. She is loved and missed by so very many family and friends, who continue to be devastated by the tragic loss of this truly wonderful young woman.
In Jess’ memory, please drive safely, and always remember that you are sharing the road with other souls equally as fragile and precious as yourself. Please don’t take risks.