SUPER-FIT David Fawcett died just a month after being laid low by a rare disease.
David, 34, who worked as a postman and was a keen footballer, walker and cyclist, started feeling ill the week before Christmas. He complained of swollen joints and ankles and arthritis-type pains.
After undergoing tests at Blackburn Royal Infirmary he was allowed home to Foxwood Chase, Accrington, where he spent Christmas with Audra, his wife of 10 years, and their children Hannah and James. He was re-admitted the day after New Year's Day and his condition rapidly worsened until his death last Friday.
It was revealed he was suffering from dermatomyositis, a disease which attacks the muscles, causing severe weakness.
Hairdresser Audra, 31, who runs the Technique salon at the bottom of Avenue Parade, Accrington, said: "He had hardly even been ill but after Christmas he went downhill very quickly. In the end the disease destroyed his immunity and attacked his main organs.''
She said that James, four, was too young to understand what had happened but Hannah, who was nine yesterday - the day before her dad's funeral - was devastated.
David's father Ken said: "The people at the infirmary were marvellous. They did everything they could for us. We even sent an e-mail to friends in San Diego, America, in case there was a cure over there. But all the medical people they asked said they had never even seen it. Apparently it affects only one in three million people in the States.''
The disease, which is not always fatal, is characterised by a patchy bluish-purple rash, muscle weakness and fatigue.
David attended Benjamin Hargreaves Primary School and St Christopher's High School, Accrington, and worked at Marks and Spencer before becoming a postman at Accrington 15 years ago. He played football for Accrington Amateurs and was a Burnley season ticket holder.
He also enjoyed walking in the countryside, cycling with his children, holidays days at the seaside and relaxing in the garden. And he loved social get-togethers and parties.
David also leaves his mother Pat, brother Nick, sister-in-law Sandra, brothers-in-law Paul and Mark, nieces Caitlin, Maddison and Holly, father-in-law Ken and mother-in-law Mary.
The Rev Andrew Scutt will conduct a funeral service at Cambridge Street Methodist Church today before cremation at Accrington. Wolstenholme's Funeral Service is handling the arrangements.