Father’s death brings heartache for widow

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A heartbroken mother from Thrapston says life without her childhood sweetheart gets harder by the day after he died of cancer just weeks ago.

Chelsea Cawdell married Bob a week after he was diagnosed with kidney cancer and told by doctors he had a month to live in June last year.

Six months later after a long battle with the cancer, which included several bouts of painful chemotherapy treatments, Bob died aged just 40.

More than 150 people attended his funeral at St James’ Church in the village, including his two sons Arron, 10, and Tyler, six.

Now, a month on, collections tins have been placed in The Kings Arms, The Fox and The Mason Arms to raise cash for a memorial bench in Town Walk.

Chelsea, 41, of Kenilworth Gardens, said the location was chosen because it was the last place Bob spent outside with his family.

She said: “I still can’t get my head around it all – I can’t believe Bob has gone.

“I am finding it more and more difficult every day.

“I can’t explain what it was like to lose him, I don’t know where to go from here.”

Chelsea met Bob as a child at Prince William School in Oundle before she moved to America.

On returning she met up with him again and they started a relationship 18 years ago.

He worked at Inchcape Automotive for 13 years before setting up his own tiling business a year before he died. Chelsea said: “He was a popular man who was held in high regard by anyone who met him. A genuine person who was community-orientated.”

Outside of work he could often be seen riding his bike or at one of the local pubs.

Friend Phil Shanahan has set up the fundraising scheme for the memorial bench.

He said: “Plenty of people knew Bob and want to set up something in his memory.”

Chelsea is also raising money for Cransley Hospice in his name. She is taking part in a two-hour aerobathon from 1pm to 3pm on Saturday, March 3, in the Nene Centre.

Sponsorship forms are available at the centre.