‘Our first Christmas without mum’

Soldiering on: David Winterbottom with sons Louis, Charlie and Reece.
Soldiering on: David Winterbottom with sons Louis, Charlie and Reece.
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DAVID Winterbottom and his three sons will be paying a special visit to Beighton Cemetery on Christmas Day.

The devoted dad to Louis, aged 10, Reece, seven, and Charlie, five, lost his wife Kirsty in August – and this is the lads’ first Christmas without her.

Kirsty Winterbottom

Kirsty Winterbottom

“Kirsty absolutely loved Christmas,” said David, aged 38, a car paint sprayer from Sothall, Sheffield.

“I have tried to do everything I can to make Christmas like she would have done it for the boys, I’ve been trying to decorate the house as she would have.”

Kirsty died aged just 30 after a five-year battle with skin cancer.

Since the tragedy, David’s family and friends have rallied around to help him and the boys find a sense of normality.

“Everyone has been fantastic,” David said.

“Kirsty would have just wanted us to get on with it the best we can, but it will be really hard this Christmas.

“Everyone is supporting us really well, especially at the boys’ school – the teachers have been great with them all.

“The boys have good days and bad days but they have Kirsty’s picture up on their wall and there are lots of people helping them along.

“And I’ve been going to the bereavement sessions at Weston Park Cancer Hospital, which have been helpful – I’ve met some great people.”

A fortnight ago David and the boys held a small ceremony at Beighton Cemetery to bury Kirsty’s ashes and erect a small headstone.

“It’s just around the corner so we can visit as often as we like,” he said.

“We will be going down on Christmas day and Kirsty’s mum Barbara and her older sister Karen will be visiting.”

One of Kirsty’s final acts before she died was to help her other sister Kerry, 36, prepare for her wedding.

And last weekend the family attended Kerry’s big day in Gainsborough.

“It was a very emotional day,” said David.

“We lit a candle for Kirsty. Kirsty had helped Kerry choose the location and the dress.

“She was actually the only person who saw the dress before the wedding. It was a great day.”

Now, though, it’s time to look to 2012.

David said: “I’m going to try and get away next year, take the boys for a holiday.

“We’re doing okay, and we are taking it a day at a time, getting on with it, like Kirsty wanted us to.”