This is for you mum

Lisa, with husband Ben and children in St Catherine's Hospice
Lisa, with husband Ben and children in St Catherine's Hospice

“Look what I won, mum”.

This was the touching graveside message from a seven-year-old son to his mother as he proudly clutched the football trophy he was presented with just the day after her funeral.

Mum-of-three Lisa Gilkes, 36, was buried on Friday after losing her fight against cancer.

On Sunday, son Tom visited her grave, taking with him the cup he won in a junior tournament, the day before, ‘to show to her’.

Relatives, friends and neighbours gathered at St Joseph’s Church, Withnell, for a requiem mass and to say farewell to Lisa.

The unprecedented large number of mourners resulted in many having to stand outside in the car park.

Many travelled from all parts of the country, including Lisa’s relatives from South Wales and Cardiff, where she was born and trained as a nurse.

Lisa, of Abbey Village, died in St Catherine’s Hospice, Lostock Hall, on April 11, after developing a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

She was married to Ben Gilkes, of family firm Peter E Gilkes estate agents, Market Street, Chorley, and was mother to Ned, nine, Tom, seven, and Alice, six.

Father-in-law Peter explained: “Tom played for Brinscall under-sevens yellows in a tournament at Penwortham Holme on Saturday and his team won.

“Tom picked up the trophy on behalf of the team which he held up on the day.

“Then we visted the grave on Sunday afternoon so he could tell his mum and show her the trophy.”

He added: “The kids have been tremendous. They all went to the grave.

“They have been very aware that mum’s not going to get better since just after Christmas.”

At the funeral service, Father Peter Crowther, who had visited Lisa regularly and almost daily in her latter days in St Catherine’s, where she had been looked after since just after Christmas, spoke warmly of her inspiration to others and of her attributes as a bright, cheerful and humorous young lady and one who was involved and became a well known member of the community serving as a parent governor on the school PTA and attending as a volunteer reader.

In his eulogy to his wife, Ben paid tribute to Lisa and her many qualities as a wife and mother, and thanked all the many friends, neighbours and relatives who had helped them through the difficult period of her treatment, enabling them to maintain their family’s and children’s routine as much as possible following her diagnosis in 2012.

He particularly thanked St Joseph’s School, Withnell, Euxton Hall where Lisa was a nurse and St Catherine’s for their care and kindness to Lisa during her last three months.

Last month a pre-wedding blessing was arranged so Lisa could play a part in her twin’s special day.

As Lisa’s condition deteriorated, her twin brother Mark Edwards and his wife-to-be Sian Howell, decided to cancel a wedding organised to take place in Chorley and held a celebration of their commitment to each other at St Catherine’s.

Mark, who lives in Cardiff with Sian, said: “The original plan had been for the official ceremony to take place at Chorley Registry Office followed by a blessing in the chapel and a bit of a party in the garden room at the hospice.

“But as Lisa’s condition deteriorated, St Catherine’s suggested organising a relationship blessing which we all thought was a lovely idea.”

Mark, 36, said it was just one of the ways the hospice had been there for Lisa, their mum, Ben and the rest of the family over the past few months.

Staff from the spiritual care team set about making the necessary arrangements for the blessing which was carried out by St Catherine’s trustee Rev Peter Taylor in Lisa’s room at the hospice.

Mark said: “It was such a special day and it means everything that Lisa could be there to see it, and be part of it.

“She chose the poem The Tapestry’ that was read by Rev Peter, who also gave a lovely blessing. Lisa talked about it a lot afterwards - it was a very important occasion for her.”

Also in March, Britain’s Got Talent star Lucy Kay wowed patients, staff and volunteers - including Lisa and her family last month - during an intimate performance.

The rising classical star, who finished runner-up in last year’s show, visited the hospice ahead of her performance at this year’s Symphony at the Tower in July, an annual weekend of live music at Hoghton Tower which raises much-needed funds for the charity.

Lisa said at the time: “It was absolutely beautiful - the surroundings really added to the atmosphere too.

“It was lovely to do something different, to come out of my room and to share something special with the children and my family. It’s been a very happy occasion.”