THE wife of a man who died from lung cancer just two days before their first wedding anniversary has paid tribute to her "tower of strength" husband.
Carole Darbyshire described husband Roland, 58, as "unbelievably brave" and praised him for "always being positive, always smiling".
She said: "He found out he had lung cancer just four days after we got married. He fought it from start to finish; he was incredible - so determined and strong. He stared the illness square in the face and dealt with it better than I did.
"I can't believe he's gone. I'd been expecting it but his death has still come as a shock. He persevered and wanted to last for our anniversary, which is also my birthday, but he just couldn't. I am lost without him now."
Roland, a former aircraft fitter, died on Saturday in White Ash Brook Nursing Home, Oswaldtwistle, just minutes before Carole arrived at his bedside.
Last November Carole, 47, of Ormerod Street, Accring-ton, was so impressed with the treatment Roland received from the Royal Preston Hospital she shaved her head to raise money for it.
But on New Year's Eve callous burglars ransacked her house and stole her sponsorship money and forms.
"I never told Roland about that," said Carole.
"He was so touched by my headshave that I simply couldn't tell him, I loved him too much to upset him. Whoever stole from a dying man was lowest of the low."
Carole, a trainee practitioner for the National Autistic Society, thanked family, friends and colleagues for their unwavering support.
She said: "The people at work have been so kind, because I've had three months off with stress. Everyone has been really generous, offering to run errands and give me lifts. I can't thank them enough."
Roland was a keen pool player and played bowls for the Sydney Street Working Men's Club in Accrington where he socialised.
He will be cremated at Accrington on Tuesday following a service in the crematorium chapel.
As well as his wife, he leaves his mother Lillian, 80, children Darren and Sharon from a previous relationship, step-daughters Joanne and Kirsty-Lynn and two grandchildren.