1. ITV Report

'Danny's highs were higher than anyone else's' - speedway star's dad on son's 'demons'

The father of speedway star Danny Ayres says he's been overwhelmed by the support from friends and fans since his death - but insists his son did not get the help he needed from health workers during his life.

His comments came as crowds gathered at the Mildenhall Fen Tigers' stadium for the 33-year-old rider's funeral.

Danny, from Bury St Edmunds, is believed to have taken his own life. David Ayres said his son "had his demons" and had sought help but had been wrongly diagnosed.

Danny Ayres, who died earlier this year Credit: ITV News Anglia

"Danny wasn't depressed. I want to get that out there. He had his goals. But he had his demons that came in.

"We didn't get the help we wanted. We went for help. But he didn't get the help he wanted - he was wrongly diagnosed.

"Danny's highs were higher than anyone else's. His adrenaline when he won a race was like a footballer scoring a goal - he won a race and he wanted to celebrate with everyone, not just his team, everyone.

"So when he came down, and every day life came in, his lows seemed to sink a bit lower.

"But he wasn't depressed. He was up every morning at 5am doing his jokes in the ice bin. He was ok."

– David Ayres, Danny Ayres' father
David Ayres, Danny's father Credit: ITV News Anglia

On Friday, crowds gathered at Mildenhall's speedway arena for Danny's funeral. His hearse did a lap of the track, followed by riders.

Those attending had all been asked to wear pink - and dress as though they were attending the speedway.

Mr Ayres said his family had been overwhelmed by the support shown since Danny's death.

He said his son - who had recently signed to ride with the Ipswich Witches in the Premiership - would have been "over the moon" to see how much love there was for him.

"The support we've got from everyone - thousands of messages. Speedway is like no other sport. They can go up to the riders. They talk to the riders before a meeting and after the meeting.

"The number of people who have sent their messages and condolences - I can't believe half of it.

"It's overwhelming but we appreciate everything everyone had done - because Danny did entertain them. The fans loved him. They all loved him."

– David Ayres