Young Sheffield dad who drowned 'was a giant of a man'

Josiah Sanderson was a talented dub-poet, who used the stage name UGE Clack

Josiah Sanderson was a talented dub-poet, who used the stage name UGE Clack

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A young Sheffield dad who drowned has been described as a 'giant of a man' in every sense.

Josiah Sanderson, of Pitsmoor, was 6ft10in and friends and family say he was blessed with the warmth, charm and loyalty to match his towering stature.

Friends and family pay tribute to Josiah

Friends and family pay tribute to Josiah

The 28-year-old father-of-three was on a family holiday in Gambia when, despite being a capable swimmer, he got into difficulties and drowned on February 15.

His parents plan to set up a trust in his memory to pay for training and equipment for coastguards to prevent future tragedies on Africa's 'Smiling Coast'.

Josiah worked in construction and sales but his true passion was music. He was a talented dub-poet, who went by the nickname UGE Clack, and his father Clive said this was going to be his year.

Clive, also known as Tibbi Reuben, said: "I couldn't want for a better son. He was my rock, my right hand man, my best friend. He brought people together, even in his death."

Josiah Sanderson with his young son

Josiah Sanderson with his young son

He said Josiah had always been 'astute' and 'perceptive' and was a talented athlete as a young man, once scoring a sensational 64 goals in a season for Earl Marshall Juniors FC.

He added that if one song summed up his son's generous nature it was 'Best Aunties', which was written in tribute to his late aunt in thanks for the support she had given Josiah's mum on the day he was born.

Josiah spent time in prison as a young man for what his father described as youthful mistakes, but Clive said he had turned his life around.

His song 'Positive Clack' advises listeners to 'make the most of what you've got', urging them to 'make the right choices and walk the right path'.

Josiah was 6ft10 and his nickname UGE  comes from 'huge'

Josiah was 6ft10 and his nickname UGE comes from 'huge'

Josiah's ancestors hail from Jamaica and he was raised as a Rastafarian but later converted to the Right Knowledge spiritual movement.

Hundreds of people attended his funeral at St Thomas Church in Philadelphia last Thursday.

Faisal Ali, who had known Josiah since they attended Firth Park Community Arts College together as boys, said his friend had a 'heart of gold'.

"He always put a smile on people's faces and if he walked into a room with 50 people he would be at the heart of that room," he added.

Josiah's father Clive said his son was his 'best friend' and 'right hand man'

Josiah's father Clive said his son was his 'best friend' and 'right hand man'

"He was a giant of a man in every way. He was so funny it was unreal but he was also very honest, caring and true."

Josiah had only arrived with his family in Gambia, where they had bought land and planned to move, the day before he died.

He was pulled from the water by his brother, who performed CPR but was unable to save him.

His mum Ursula said a young boy had drowned days later on the same stretch of coastline in Cape Point and she believes they might both have been saved were more invested in safety measures at the popular tourist spot.

"The coastguards there don't have proper medical training and they don't have equipment like life vests and jet skis," she said.

"I want to raise money to pay for that, as part of Josiah's legacy, so other families don't have to go through what we have."

* Ursula plans to set up a trust in Josiah's memory but for now she has asked anyone wishing to donate to call the undertakers John Heath & Sons on 0114 272 2222 or email enquiries@johnheath.co.uk.

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