The wife of a popular Lynn man who lost his seven-year battle with a brain tumour wants to set up a charity foundation in his memory.
Heartbroken Kirsty Hill, of King’s Reach, believes a support fund would be a fitting tribute and lasting legacy to her husband Andrew, 32, who died last week.
Despite being diagnosed with a oligodendroglioma tumour back in 2009, Andrew continued to live life to the full.
Kirsty said: “I can’t thank some people enough for what they have done but the support and help Andrew needed, especially in the early days of his illness, wasn’t always there.
“We did such a lot in such a short space of time but I’d like to set up a fund in his name to help other families.
“If you want to do something in life, like go on holiday, or go out and have a nice meal then you should be able to without the financial constraints that comes with having a sick loved one.
“Despite the challenges he faced, Andrew would be the first one to say enjoy yourself – life is too short.”
Devastated family and friends have made a number of heartfelt and poignant tributes.
The son of Peter and Teresa Hill, of North Lynn, Andrew, who worked at Snap-on on the Hardwick Industrial Estate, refused to let his illness get him down and always put others first.
Kirsty said: “Andrew was a real people person and he took everything in his stride.
“He never once complained and used to get annoyed when he wasn’t able to go to work.
“Not once did he use his illness as an excuse. I remember when there was a girl at his work who was diagnosed with breast cancer and he used to say ‘she is a lot worse than me.’
“Our pet dog Bruno was his soul-mate and companion. He got us up every single day and Andrew absolutely loved him.”
Andrew was first diagnosed with a tumour back in 2009. After six weeks of intensive radiotherapy and regular check-ups, he appeared to be making good progress.
It wasn’t until November 2014 that the couple were told that the tumour had grown. During his PCV chemo treatment in 2015, Andrew proposed.
Just a few weeks before the couple’s big day, Andrew underwent two lots of major surgery. One to have his leg pinned after breaking it on a freak accident during his stag and another to remove the tumour.
Kirsty said: “When Andrew broke his leg on his stag do he didn’t tell me what had happened. He didn’t want to worry me because I was having my embryo transfer for IVF at the time. That’s just how he was.
“He had two major operations in the space of a few weeks just before our wedding but he carried on as normal. Everyone expected the wedding to be cancelled but it was the best day of my life.”
The couple tied the knot in March but in the summer of last year they suffered a double blow.
Having been forced to try for a family through IVF because of Andrew’s intensive treatment, Kirsty, pregnant with twins, suffered a miscarriage.
They were also informed that Andrew’s temozolomide chemotherapy wasn’t working and he was put back on the PCV. Four months later, they were told there was nothing more doctors could do.
Speaking on behalf of Andrew’s closest friends, former KLFM presenter Adam Newstead said: “Hilly brought joy and laughter into so many lives; the room would light up with his presence, and he was never afraid to be the fool if it meant somebody else would smile.
“His huge popularity is testament to his open, infectious personality, but to his intimate group of closest friends he was more like a brother, and we are all deeply heartbroken.
“The extent of our sadness cannot be spoken, nor written into words. But neither can our love, admiration, and respect for an amazing man, who continued to laugh and crack silly jokes even during his toughest moments. He was so brave.
“His passing has awoken to us all the deeper meaning of our friendship, and somewhere beneath all the sadness is a tiny, heartening comfort in knowing it was Hilly who brought that forward.”
Kirsty paid tribute to the support network in the final few years of her husband’s life.
“Snap-on have been amazing, as have the Big C, especially Tonia King, the Macmillan nurses who were fantastic in his final days, and my family and friends, who didn’t just support Andrew but have also been there for me,” said Kirsty.
“Amberley Hall, where Andrew spent the final few weeks of his life, were also amazing. They brought the family together for Christmas Day where we had a three-course meal and opened our presents.
“It wasn’t the Christmas we wanted but it was one where we could all be together. They gave us that and they need to be recognised.”
Andrew’s funeral will take place at Mintlyn Crematorium on Thursday, January 26, at 4pm, where mourners are asked to dress in red and white – the same colours of his beloved Arsenal. A celebration of his life will take place in the Riverside Restaurant after.
A Just Giving page has been set up for anyone wishing to donate to a fund set-up in Andrew’s memory at: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/andrewhill