A much-loved dad has left his family and friends devastated after dying suddenly aged 32 from a suspected heart attack.
Ashley Otter, who was well known across the Swansea and Llanelli areas as a nightclub bouncer, had been watching the film Justice League at his Pendderi Road, Bynea, Llanelli, home on Thursday, November 29, with his lifelong best friend Leigh Hodge.
Earlier, they had been to the gym and gone out for food together.
He fell asleep, and when he woke up he told Mr Hodge he was having difficulty breathing.
Mr Hodge, who was in the army, called for an ambulance and performed CPR on him for 25 minutes, before he was taken to Glangwili Hospital, but he could not be saved.
There is yet to be a postmortem, but his family believe he may have experienced a heart attack. There is a history of them among young men in their family.
Mr Otter was well known throughout the Swansea area, as from the age of 18 he spent his career working first in telesales at places like Vodafone and Admiral, and then as a bouncer at bars and clubs including Revolution, Peppermint, Pitcher & Piano and Oxygen.
He also had a love for travel and foreign holidays, and he decided to take his work abroad when he was 20, working as a bouncer at some of the top super clubs in Ibiza.
The 32-year-old’s mum, Lynne Reed, sister, Sara-Jane Otter, and partner Kara Hughes came together to pay an emotional tribute to Mr Otter, opening up over their grief and describing what a special person he was.
“We’re devastated, it’s literally been a numbness,” Miss Reed said.
“I keep feeling like he is going to walk in any minute or ring me to say he’s on his way just round the corner.
“He was the life and soul of the party, and his lights have gone out. I would like to think we’ll all be back together again.”
Miss Otter added: “He knew so many people, and when he was around you, he had a way of making you feel you were the only one in the room.”
But the arrival of his daughter Beau, now aged two and a half, changed the course of his life, and he decided to become a facilities manager for Swansea-based drainage company Metro Rod, with more sociable hours so he could be there for her and his two stepsons, Noah, seven, and Archie, 10.
“He was an amazing father and loved his kids more than anything,” his partner Miss Hughes, mother of his daughter and step-sons, said.
“The day I told him I was pregnant, there was a blank look on his face then he started howling, he was so happy.
“I can’t tell you how much of a great father he was. He was the best dad and Beau was really the making of him, everybody else took second place, they were thick as thieves.
“He used to love looking after his bike, and Beau would be outside behind him with a little grey rag cleaning it with him.
“He liked taking them out and going on walks, on a nature trail and playing football, taking them riding the donkeys, everything.”
Miss Hughes explained how, like the storyline in Adam Sandler’s 1999 comedy film, Big Daddy, Mr Otter would have ‘Frankenstein’ days with Noah, where he would let him dress up whichever way he wanted to, just to have fun.
She said the children had found his death very hard to comprehend.
“They ask for him all the time, and they’ve really noticed when he’s not around to do things like put their toys together,” Miss Hughes said.
“The heartbreaking thing is Beau is a daddy’s girl, and is asking for him all the time. She is so young that she will have no memories of him when she is older.”
Mr Otter was a former Dafen and Bryngwyn School pupil, and was described by Miss Otter as a “human calculator”, and someone who excelled at maths in school.
This came despite him being dyslexic, which he did not let stand in his way during life.
He loved taking part in sport, including rugby, kick boxing and skiing, which he would regularly do with Mr Hodge.
He also had an adventurous nature, and would happily go along with plans, no matter how unusual.
“If someone had a stupid idea and proposed it to Ashley be would go, and it would only be a five minute conversation,” Miss Otter said.
Mr Otter’s family hope his death will encourage others to take heed of any chest pains they might experience.
“If anyone has got twinges, go and look at it straight away,” Miss Reed said.
“He had chest pains and went to have it checked out, but nothing was done about it. It is important to make sure something is.
“If another mother does not have to go through what I have to go through, it would be worth it.
“If someone looks a bit closer at themselves, there could be some good to come out of it. Some good has got to come out of it.”
Mr Otter’s funeral takes place on December 13 at Llanelli Crematorium at 11am. There will be a normal funeral attire dress code.
A gathering will then take place at the Selwyn Samuel Centre. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Source – walesonline.co.uk