Daryl Markham Honors His Brother on “X Factor”

Forty-year-old cabinet maker Daryl Markham’s X Factor audition on August 29, 2009 was incredibly emotional and poignant. Markham had planned to audition the year before but had bowed out to serve as best man at his brother Gary’s wedding that day. Soon after, tragedy struck. Here is the whole story, reported by Tom Latchem in News of the World on August 30, 2009:

Gary and Daryl Markham on Gary's wedding day

This was Daryl Markham on the day he should have been at his X Factor audition last year . . . beaming with pride as best man at his brother’s wedding.

Just SIX WEEKS later his beloved younger brother was diagnosed with lung cancer. Six weeks after that he was DEAD at just 37.

Viewers last night saw bald-headed Daryl mark the anniversary of the heartbreak with an incredible audition for X Factor one year on.

His voice breaking with emotion, he told the News of the World: “Gary was everything to me and I can’t tell you how much I miss him. There’s not a minute that goes by when I don’t think of him.”


“I was supposed to enter the X Factor last year but was delighted to have to put it off because Gary was getting married on the day of the auditions.

“After he died I decided to go for it. I want to make Gary proud.”

He went on: “I feel him around me. He was a massive X Factor fan, so I’m hoping he is looking down on me like a fifth judge and looking out for me.”

Daryl’s performance of Crazy Horse’s I Don’t Wanna Talk About It was even more poignant because Gary’s nine-year-old son Kian was there to see it.

He rushed on stage and hugged his beloved uncle. Daryl, 40, promised his dying brother he would care for Kian, and he now sees him at weekends. He said: “I gave him my word I would look after his boy and I meant it.”

Daryl admitted: “Kian used to laugh at me when I said I was going to enter the X Factor, but the first thing he said after I sang was, ‘Wow, you’re not rubbish after all!

“His approval means just as much to me as Simon Cowell’s. To see Kian brimming with pride was an amazing feeling. He’s such a great kid and is a mirror image of his dad.

“I just want him to be proud of me. I’m doing this for him and Gary, and to make my family proud of me.”

Daryl dreamed of being a pop star from a young age. He started entering local singing competitions in the early 1990s.

“I would win a few hundred quid here and there,” he recalled. “But I never thought I would end up on the X Factor.

“I just didn’t have the confidence to sing in front of huge crowds.”

After leaving school Daryl became a cabinet maker. Gary then followed him into the trade and they set up their own business near their home in Seaford, East Sussex.

Daryl said: “We did everything together – work, going out, fishing. We had such fun.

“When Gary got a bit drunk he would give me a kiss and tell me he loved me. We were so close.

“Now I go to work and it hurts to see his workbench without him there. I couldn’t bear to bring in anyone else so I work alone now.”

Heavy smoker Gary died in September last year – six weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

Daryl helped him through the pain as the disease quickly took hold and Gary grew frail.

“I used to rub his back and he would tell me he felt so at ease with me,” said Daryl.


“I wished there was more I could do but you just have to be there and stay strong – despite how hard it is. Gary was so fit it was a total shock to us all.

“He was always the natural father, and really caring to Kian. They don’t come better than him.”

Daryl now hopes the X Factor will be his lucky break after a slump in his business due to the credit crunch.

“People aren’t buying furniture as much so work has slowed a bit.

“Fingers crossed being in the X Factor will lead to something good.

“I’ve got a good feeling about it.”

But while he hopes his brother is looking out for him, he added sorrowfully:

“I would swap it all to have one more moment together with him.”

Daryl Markham and his nephew Kian, who ran onstage after Gary's audition song


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