#21 Aleksei Grachev – President St. Petersburg Leather Club, Russia
© John O’Brien
Our St. Petersburg Leather Club SPBLeather Club was formed as an addition to our same bear club SPBears in October 2015 and became the first leather club in Russia. It was not easy for us, given the difficult homophobic situation in the country. But we understood that it was necessary for us, both leather and bears.
In the spring of 2016, I received a letter from our friend Uwe, President of the Hamburg Leather Club, in which he announced the interest of the ECMC Secretary Daniel Dumont in our club and his offer to start cooperation with this European organization. So began my friendship with Daniel, this wonderful and kind man. An invitation followed from Daniel to participate in the ECMC AGM in Helsinki in 2016. Not only that, knowing the complexity of our situation, Daniel offered to help financially with my participation in all events through the ECMC. It was so unexpected and amazing, even awkward, but I understood - our club is given the rarest chance to present itself at such a significant event, especially the anniversary in honor of Tom of Finland.In 2017 we gained probationary membership in the ECMC, and soon received on Daniel’s initiative an honorary Trophy from Sixty-Nine Club with the right to add our club to the prestigious list of clubs - members of the Trophy. 2018 was marked for our club by the holding of the first official event in Russia - SPBLeather Russian Pride with the election of the first Mr. Leather Russia, Ivan. Daniel was very interested in this event and arranged to visit us in Petersburg. The support of our club and our official event at such a high level was simply invaluable, this support gave us strength and confidence in the correctness of the chosen path. And all of this was thanks to Daniel.
To my great regret in Rome at the ECMC conference, I last met Daniel. We managed to only talk a little and decided that next time we will definitely sit and drink coffee, in Nice. No one could have expected Daniel to leave us...Thank you, Daniel, for everything you have done for us and for Russia. Thank you for your good attitude towards me, for your friendship and help in everything. You're in my heart, Forever.
#22 Brian Licken – Treasurer LUBE Dublin
© John O’Brien
I first met Daniel when visiting Brussels for Pride in 2001 with LUBE, Ireland’s leather club at the tune. But my abiding memory of Daniel was when MSC Belgium visited Dublin for Pride in 2003. Daniel stayed with Joe and I in our house in Sallins, a small village 50km outside Dublin, and he thought nothing of going into Dublin on the commuter train in full leather. During his stay, we visited Dublin’s botanical gardens, Daniel chose to wear full combat gear for the visit. Walking through the gardens, we met Senator David Norris (a gay rights activist) who upon seeing Daniel proclaimed “Gentleman, Iraq is that way!”.
#23 Bart Verracas for MSC Belgium
© John O’Brien
You lived for our fetish community for so many years, first the early years of our club MSC Belgium, later ECMC.
I got to know you only few years ago. But last years were intense, we built up many memories together, first while traveling to so many places, later as most senior member of the board of MSC Belgium.
Past years have not always been easy for you, but I enjoyed to see you flourish during your trips throughout Europe!
Thanks for being a mentorThanks for sharing numerous moments togetherThanks for sharing your beliefs and your strong opinionsThanks for sharing also your fears Above all, thanks for being my friend!
You will be missed, by many of our club members, by our board members and by myself!Rest in peace brother!
Bart, President of MSC Belgium
#24 Suzanne Van de Laar – Ms Leather Netherlands 2019
© Different by Suus
I have several memories of Daniel and each of them are very special to me in their own way.
In Paris during the Mr Leather Europe Competition in 2018 he asked me to whip him with his famous bullwhip, I told him no, but he insisted that he trusted me... but I replied that I did not ‘know’ his whip. It amused us both.
When his Mum passed away, we spoke every day for 3 weeks about his loss and I think I was a comfort to him. I really enjoyed our chats.After the result of Bootblack Europe 2019 he asked me if I was angry with him and I replied no; but I was a little disappointed. Later that year we laughed about it.My fondest memory is from Antwerp this year the last time many of us saw him, hetold me he was proud of me and the work I had done as Ms Leather Netherlands.
#25 Per Helge Nylund – Mr Leather Norway 2019
© John O’Brien
My main memory of Daniel is when he commented on the Arctic Pilot page that he was coming to the event and would like to bring his bullwhip with him to use in the Pride Parade. I actually talked to the Chief Constable here in Tromsø to make sure it was OK for Daniel to do so. Thankfully the Tromsø Constabulary approved of his whipping. Daniel cut a fine figure in the parade and made a huge impression on the spectators. He even featured on the front page of the online version of a local newspaper. I am so glad Daniel travelled to inside the Arctic Circle to visit as I know he enjoyed the event very much.
#26 Billy Lane USA – Judge Minder IML (International Mister Leather)
© John O’Brien
Dear friends, fellow leathermen and others who also loved Daniel…
I met Daniel in 2005 when he was invited to judge IML the first time.As was his custom, he brought many boxes of chocolates to friends, both old and new!
Since I was the Judges’ Coordinator, he brought me a HUGE box, much to the delight of my husband John, who loves chocolate. Once Daniel discovered John’s love of chocolate, he always made it a point to bring him a box of his very own each time he came to IML including in 2015 when he was asked to judge again. In addition, over the years, I also discovered that Daniel had a wicked sense of humour, which was quite irreverent.
This was something we shared and I will miss times like this — a pic of us taken at MAL (Mid Atlantic Leather) 2019 with him showing me a video of himself flipping off tRump! © John O’Brien
In 2016, Daniel was unable to attend IML but still sent a box of Leonidas chocolates to John with John O’Brien who was judging that year.
Little did my John know that the box actually contained chocolate soaps not chocolate! We recorded the presentation of the box of “chocolates” and sent it to Daniel, who enjoyed the joke even though he was home in Brussels.
Daniel’s laugh and his naughty sense of humour were legendary - I always enjoyed his anti-tRump memes.
Daniel - Adios, MF… I will miss you… Billy Lane, IML Judges Coordinator.
#27 Darco S. Sorenso – Mr Leather Belgium 2017
© John O’Brien
It was in 2017 (the year I was elected as Mr Leather Belgium)....I was in Berlin for Easter. At one point we were at a restaurant with a whole gang (les "grenouilles" de Nice, Daniel, lots of other misters...). After Dinner we went back to Fuggerstrasse. We had to cross over and Daniel "pushed" me just a little bit, to pretend he was pushing me under a car and he was screaming: GEORGES I HAVE YOUR SASH BACK, IT'S YOURS AGAIN!!! So of course, we were all laughing because we know that Georges and Daniel were good friends. But then when we were walking further, he put his arm around me and said: I was just kidding, I know you are going to do a great job as our new mister...and I am very proud of you..
#28 Stevio Blackhart – Mr Leather Europe 2020
I met Daniel around one year ago. But I knew him way before because his fame preceded him. Our first meeting was quick, in Darklands, and I felt honoured to be introduced to him. At the time I had no idea how sweet and friendly he was. I get to know him a little bit better when he came to Milan. He had a whip workshop with Bob Lee and he was teaching us all we need to know about whips.
It felt like a father teaching his child how to make a tie knot. Such a warm and fascinating experience. That was the time I saw for the first time his amazing cigarette trick. I was amazed by his skills. He was a true whip master.
In the next months, I was training hard with the help of Bob to learn how to use my whip and when I met Daniel again, I felt like a child wanting to show his father how good I had become. "Daniel! Look! I learn!" I told him while cracking my whip. He smiled at me and then cracked his whip 10 times louder than I did, making my ear whistle.
"Ok! Ok! I got it! The way is long and I will do better!"
And we laughed Together…
#29 Jeff Tucker IML (International Mr Leather) Den Daddy
© John O’Brien
There are so many memories about Daniel that make me smile but one does stand out. When he came to IML he must have brought an extra suitcase filled with just chocolate. He would sit in the lobby with a satchel next to him filled with the sweet morsels and when certain individuals would see him, they would scurry to greet him, there would be cheek kisses, three of them, and then out came a small box of Belgium gold. He would be so happy and so would his recipients, I teased and called him “the candy man,” I too was always grateful for my gift of delicious chocolates. Daniel knew that my Paul only likes dark chocolates and he would have a box just for him. His thoughtfulness was undeniable and the look on both faces with each exchange was pure joy and uniquely Daniel.
#30 Mari-Mette Graff – Trosopplærer, Tromsø Domkirke (Cathedral)
© John O’Brien
One doesn’t need to raise their voice to be noticed, nor crack their whip to make an impression.
I met Daniel in my hometown Tromsø, in northern Norway, during Arctic Pride week, where he was a part of The Arctic Pilot. I work in Tromsø Domkirke (Cathedral), and met Daniel at the Rainbow Mass, a mass celebrating God, love and diversity. My heart was filled with joy and happiness as I saw Daniel and all his fellow leather brothers entering the church. It was impossible not to notice his warm smile and eyes, even though the church was filled with people. After the mass he asked me for a picture and lent me his hat. He didn’t say much, but still made a deep impression. I’m sad that he is no longer with us, but I will remember him with joy. His way of proudly expressing himself, both in the parade and in the church is an inspiration. The power of self-acceptance and embracing life and love is important and can save many lives. Sadly, the coronavirus took Daniel’s life, but his memory will live forever.
I have lit a candle for Daniel in the church, thanking God for the blessed moment with Daniel, me and him standing in the church, next to the rainbow falling down from the altar. R.I.P., Daniel.