Graduate dies with mother on his big day

A 21-year-old student was killed in a car crash with his mother as they drove home from his graduation
ceremony.

Ben Dalah and his mother Nadia’s Saab convertible collided with a lorry  on the M6 near Rugby. His father, Freddy, who was at the wheel, escaped with minor injuries.  

The lorry driver and that of a Renault Clio which was involved in the accident were also unhurt.

Mr Dalah was being comforted this week by his other sons Andrew, 26, and Josh, eight.

The family, who were active members of North London’s Sephardi community, had been celebrating Ben’s “proudest day” as they saw him awarded a first in economics.

A website was set up in their memory and quickly received dozens of comments and pictures.

A number of Ben’s friends delayed their departure to Israel on the UJIA Israel Experience trip to attend Thursday’s double funeral at Edgwarebury Lane cemetery.

Mrs Dalah, 50, was born in Iraq, the youngest of nine. She lived in Israel before moving to England before Ben was born.

A close family friend said: “Nadia’s husband and family were her life. She adored Freddy. They were soulmates. She was always cooking and always sent Ben to university with food.

“Nadia was a true eshet chayil, very warm and positive and always laughing. She was a fantastic mother and friend. We will all miss her terribly.”

Arsenal fan Ben had been due to begin a career as a consulting analyst with Deloitte in September. The company said it was “shocked to hear the tragic news”.

He had toured Israel with FZY in 2003 and was a regular pundit on the Jcom radio station. He had planned to have his chest waxed to raise £1,000 for cancer research later this year.

Philip Peters, his housemate at university, gathered comments from Ben’s friends for a group email. In it they said: “Friday was his proudest day. He wanted to get a first for his parents because they’d given him so much and he wanted to repay them.

“He had an amazing relationship with his brothers. Andrew was his hero, and Josh adored Ben. He would always make the time to be an amazing older brother, whom Josh will always remember.

“He made an impact on everyone who met him and touched so many lives. To know Ben was a privilege. He never put himself first and nothing was too much trouble. He was down-to-earth, loved life, going out, playing poker and football, all your everyday things.

“He was just a normal 21-year-old with the brightest of futures ahead of him.”

Staff at Birmingham University’s economics department said in a statement: “Ben was an outstanding student whose final-year dissertation was nominated for a prestigious E.ON Project prize. He was always cheerful and popular.” 

Adam Pike, Union of Jewish Students chair, said: “On behalf of the UJS, I extend my condolences to the Dalah family. I’m sure that the thoughts and prayers of all Jewish students are with them at this time.”

Tributes to Nadia and Ben can be left at www.rememberingdalah.com

    Last updated: 9:30am, July 17 2008