A wife has spoken of her heartache after her husband died suddenly while they were holidaying in Barbados.
Jeff Birtwell, known locally as ‘brickdust’ due to his job as a bricklayer, passed away on Saturday, March 8 of a suspected heart attack.
His wife Trudy, 55, who has flown home to Clayton-le-Moors, said that she was ‘still in shock’ following the death of the dad of two.
She told the Observer that she has been overwhelmed by the support she has received from the community since his death.
She said that Jeff, 53, who she lived with on Brigg Field, passed away in his sleep.
The couple had been enjoying a two-week break on the Caribbean island, which they had saved up for all year.
Trudy said: “I have been overwhelmed by how many messages we have been receiving.
“The funeral directors have received tonnes of enquiries about Jeff’s funeral, that’s made me feel really proud.
“I am still in shock after what has happened, everything was great, we were relaxing and having some good quality time together, then this happened.”
Jeff suffered from type one diabetes and when he didn’t get up to check his blood sugar levels, Trudy checked on him.
She found him unresponsive and then called for help. Jeff leaves two sons, Alex, 27 and Lewis, 24. The brothers, who sing at weddings and pubs in Accrington as part of an entertainment duo, said their dad’s death had still not ‘sunk in’.
Alex said: “To be honest it has come as a massive shock and it hasn’t sunk in.
“I know he was having a great holiday and was enjoying meeting new people and having a relax. All this has come right out of the blue.”
Alex added: “My dad was a big Burnley fan and me and my brother had tickets for the derby on Sunday. After we found out on the Saturday morning we decided to still go, it felt like a send off for him and I think he would have wanted us to go. He would have been looking down smiling at the result.”
Alex paid tribute to his dad who he described as a ‘happy, sociable man’. He said: “My dad enjoyed life and had a lot of friends, he was a very happy and sociable man.”
Funeral arrangements are still to be made pending the return of Jeff’s body to the UK. All enquiries to be directed to L Champ Funeral Services on 01254 390731.