Martyn and I met on MySpace, online, in the days before dating sites. He was in the Midlands, I was down south. I must have popped up as a suggested friend. He clicked. I clicked back. Our lives clicked. Complete opposites in many ways, his family told me that my natural optimism brought a balance to their son who was more ‘glass half empty.' A perfect match I guess. Back and forth we went up and down the country until we decided to take the leap and move in together. Three years later we were married and our three beautiful boys followed – Seamus, named because of Martyn’s Irish heritage; Henry, named for my English one and George, well, he was delivered by a Georgetta and a Georgie and it just seemed fated when we were trying to find a name! 

From the day I met him Martyn had suffered chronic indigestion but one day he complained that his usual medication didn’t seem to be working. A trip to the doctors quickly became a referral to a specialist. And in October 2017 our world was turned upside down when Martyn was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. Gruelling rounds of chemo and major surgery followed and we clung to our optimism that all would be okay. That optimism was shattered at the beginning of September 2018 when we were told that, quite unexpectedly, the cancer had spread and there was nothing further that could be done. Two weeks in hospital as we tried to come to terms with everything were stressful for us both. Then we were transferred to St Wilfrid’s. 

Just walking through the doors felt like a weight was being lifted. It was calm and peaceful and we felt safe. Martyn was immediately more comfortable and we could focus on creating some lasting family memories, with the extraordinary St Wilfrid’s care team supporting Martyn to have the best quality of life possible. Somehow they managed his pain to make it possible for us to renew our wedding vows. How handsome he looked in his smart suit as we made our promises again.

At the same time we baptized our youngest son, George. It was such a special day for us all.  For fun we turned his bedroom into a cinema so that we could have a family film night watching Venom; Martyn and the boys all being big Marvel fans! Martyn even made little cinema tickets so the boys had a memento of the evening. As a treat for the boys, Martyn arranged for a friend through work to come to the hospice with his bright red Ferrari and take the boys for a spin; what a thrill for them and a joy for Martyn to see.

Special moments that meant the world to us all.

Martyn passed away on the 28th November 2018. 

His family were by his side. 

He was 43.

Martyn was a journalist and it was second nature to him to tell a story, something very evident in the hundreds and hundreds of photos that he took.  As the boys and I look through them together we can share stories of their dad so he’ll always be a part of their lives.  It’s hard to lose someone so young, to make sense of it all, but I will always feel blessed to have known him and grateful for the beautiful legacy he left with his three boys. 

We will remember him always.

Thank you for considering making a donation to St Wilfrid’s Hospice this Lights of Love season to help other families ours.

Donna Leek

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