Mother of Chris Henchliffe pays touching tribute to her 'wonderful' son

Chris Henchliffe with his son. Picture released by family.
Chris Henchliffe with his son. Picture released by family.
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The mother of much-loved Chris Henchliffe has paid tribute to her 'wonderful' son - and told of her pain at his tragic death.

The 26-year-old sadly passed away in hospital on Tuesday morning following an alleged attack outside Chesterfield's Pomegranate Theatre almost two weeks ago.

In an emotional interview, his mother Yvonne said: "Chris had served in the army in the Yorkshire Regiment and did a tour of Afghanistan.

"He left the army two months ago to pursue a life in civvy street and found a great job at Vesuvius, which he loved.

"Chris was a marvellous daddy to five-year-old Tyler and supported his mum Natalie in many ways because Tyler is autistic.

"He was a crazy, wonderful son, grandson, brother and uncle and always kept any atmosphere alive with his cheeky grin and the mischievous twinkle in his eyes.

"Chris loved going to the gym with his brother James and playing Xbox with his youngest brother Luke.

"He had a brilliant relationship with his sister Zoey.

"To be honest, everyone loved Chris.

"He also loved music and dancing and the nightlife as many of his friends could tell you.

"When we got the call about Chris I rushed to the hospital with his brother James - we never dreamed it would be so bad.

"Our heartache began at that moment.

"When Chris was in his coma the whole family stayed at the hospital.

"We knew he would recover so we bought lots of things for him for when he woke up as we knew he would be in hospital for a very long time.

"Chris was in Ward K of neurocritical care at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield.

"My goodness, those nurses have been taught by angels and act like angels.

"The dignity they gave Chris was beyond any job description.

"Many times through the night we rang - in fact one time the nurses were blowing kisses to him at the bottom of his bed for me.

"We never imagined the cruel heartbreak that was approaching us.

"We were sat down by the consultants and told Chris had had a stroke and that his life support would be switched off.

"The following day we took some handprints for Tyler and ourselves - then it was time.

"Usually it would take up to three hours - we sat by his side, all the family.

"We cried, we talked to him, we begged for a miracle.

"Time went on.

"Chris's body was so strong and fit that he just carried on living.

"It was about 19 hours later that he finally took his last beautiful breath.

"My children and family never left his side.

"We are so numb.

"We were so in love with Chris that we can’t console each other - the pain of those 19 hours have ripped our souls apart.

"We are such a strong family.

"To this day the nurses are in touch - they got to know him through our stories.

"So, broken as we are, the only thing we are united in is that we wouldn’t want any other family to experience anything we went through because of a night out on the town.

"If anyone is going to drink then remember Chris.

"He'd had a drink that night and strayed from his friends.

"We've received outstanding support from the police.

"Family liaison officers have been sent to us and helped in ways we couldn’t have imagined.

"And Chris’s friends have been a Godsend to us - in fact the town got behind Chris’s story, which amazed and touched us deeply.

"We have also received great support from the Yorkshire Regiment.

"We never expected or knew how much Chris and his family meant to so many people."

Staff at Chesterfield Royal Hospital called police on Sunday, July 3, to tell officers that Mr Henchliffe had been brought to A&E by ambulance.

According to police, he was allegedly attacked by three men outside the Pomegranate Theatre in Corporation Street sometime between 4am and 4.30am that day.

Mr Henchliffe, of Maynard Road, Chesterfield, was later transferred to hospital with serious head injuries.

Benjamin Edwards, 21, from Fieldview Place, Chesterfield, was subsequently charged with causing grievous bodily harm.

In light of Mr Henchliffe’s death, police are consulting with the Crown Prosecution Service about the charge.

Mr Edwards is next due to appear at Derby Crown Court on August 2.

Two 24-year-old men, arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm, have been released on bail while enquiries continue.

Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting reference number 16000177569.

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