The grieving widow of a dad who died whilst watching a rugby match says she sees him in her sons every day.
Samantha Evans had to break the devastating news to her sons that husband Mark had suffered a heart attack whilst at a rugby match in Wigan in September.
Now, she says the family remember fun-loving Mark, 42, with smiles and happiness, and are preparing a fitting tribute to mark his birthday at the end of the month.
Sons Ben, 13, and Jack, 11, play for Chorley Panthers, and the team is holding a memorial charity match in Mark’s name on April 21, two days before his birthday.
Sam, 37, from St James’s Place, said: “These past six months have been very difficult and I don’t think it will ever really sink in that Mark’s gone.
“But we talk about him a lot and most of the time we smile now, rather than cry.
“Mark used to watch the boys play rugby and he was a big character at the club.
“We’re all part of the Panther family and everyone has been very supportive, so I think it’s very fitting for them to hold a game in his memory.
“His two passions were his family, and rugby.”
Since Mark’s tragic death, Sam says she has ‘good days and bad days’ and that there is no quick fix to dealing with the pain.
“Christmas was a massive challenge for us,” she said. “It was a big milestone, and his birthday will be the same.
“We have a lot of good memories from family birthdays, and I think we might set off some balloons on the day, which we also did at Christmas.
“We were always very close, but the boys and I have a really special bond now, and I see a lot of Mark in them. We laugh together and we cry together.”