Tributes have been paid to an “inspirational” grandfather who has died aged 48.
Andy Whittle, who was known as Foxy to his friends, died of liver cancer on his grandson’s sixth birthday, before having the chance to marry his fiance, Debbie Cunliffe.
The scaffolder, of Grange Place, Ribbleton, had been diagnosed with liver disease in October 2011, and was being assessed for a transplant in December 2012, when doctors found cancer.
Debbie, 42, said: “He went into hospital with a leaflet on having a transplant, and came out with one about palliative care.
“It was a massive shock, but he showed masses amount of courage and determination.
“Even if it took him an hour-and-a-half to get dressed in the morning, then he’d still do it.”
Debbie’s sister, Marion Lenehan, 48, said: “He was inspirational for us all, and didn’t really ever think of having such a bad illness.”
Because of his poor health, at Christmas Andy proposed.
Debbie said: “It’s what I’d spent 10 years waiting for, and we wanted to get married quickly, but he was too ill.
“Before Christmas he kept saying that he’d bought be something really nice and had hinted it was a ring, so I went out and bought him one too.
“Then on Christmas Day he gave me the ring and said it was for friendship.
“I said I could only fit it on my wedding finger, and he said ‘I thought you knew it was meant to be an engagement ring!’”
Daughter Malli, 22, said: “He was a really lovely, funny man who was known all over Moor Nook and Grange.
“He loved playing bingo and betting on a horse, and taking the dogs out for a walk.
“He was a great dad and grandad, and spent a lot of time with my son Harvey.
“I think he was holding on for Harvey’s birthday on February 2 before he died.
“It’s been a huge shock, we still can’t believe he’s gone. It feels like he’s still in hospital.”
Andy planned his own funeral, which will be held on Thursday, February 14 from 10.30am at Blessed Sacrament R C Church in Farringdon Lane, Ribbleton, before a burial at Preston Cemetery.
He also leaves mum Maureen, stepfather Richard, sister Karen, brother Earl, and stepchildren Sarah, Peter, Franny, Charlene, Karla and Lewis.