The Haslem family marked 12 months since the tragic death of young dad Jason with a special picnic.
At the centre of those gathered on the blanket in Cuerden Valley Park were Jason’s wife Jessica and their three sons, Toby, five, George, two, and five-month-old Barnaby, who will never meet his father.
Jessica was 11 weeks and six days pregnant with Barnaby when 24-year-old Jason, a gas engineer, died after being electrocuted at work.
“We wanted to do something family-orientated, not just spent the being sad,” said Jessica, 26.
“We decided to have a family picnic at Cuerden Valley Park where there’s a bench in Jason’s memory and where we used to a lot with the children.”
The children, their friends and Jessica’s pals spent the day sharing memories of Jason, like they do on many days.
Jessica, of Studholme Avenue, Penwortham, said: “We’re not having a very good couple of weeks. It’s more the realisation that that much time has passed and thinking about how much he’s missed out on.
“But it’s very important we do this. As long as Jason is being talked about and thought about, he’s still living on and his life is being celebrated.”
She added: “Toby has clear memories of his dad and speaks about him a lot of the time. He tells George about him quite a lot.
“It’s very important remembering him and we watch videos all the time and go back to the bench.
“We share nice memories and Toby especially enjoys telling his stories of his dad.”
Gas engineer Jason Haslem was fixing a cooker at Fir Bank Primary School in Royton, neat Oldham, when he received the fatal shock.
Jessica, a stay-at-home mum, said: “On the day he died it was just a normal day and he went off to work. I spoke to him about 3pm and he died at 4.30pm.
“In two more days we were meant to be going on holiday, but of course that never happened.”
But life for Jessica and the children had to carry on, and 11 days after the tragedy, Toby started in the reception class at primary school.
Jessica said: “I explained to him that Daddy is a star now and the children at the school are so receptive and accepting of that.
“Infact I often find him saying things to the other children that he wouldn’t say to me. I don’t think it’s that he’s worried about upsetting me, but he’ll tell funny stories that he thinks I’d disapprove of.”
Jessica said she takes comfort from the fact Jason lives on through their children, who share different traits of their father.
She said: “Toby’s got exactly the same sense of humour, George looks quite a lot like him, and with Barnaby it’s too early to tell.”
On her third son, she said: “We went for a scan two days before Jason died, so he did get to see him.
“To me that meant the world because he was the proudest dad in the world and Barnaby was very much wanted.
“It was massively bittersweet being pregnant in that situation. It was the hardest thing, but it meant I couldn’t self-destruct, I had to keep going for the children.
“But I’ve been lucky because I have a really supportive family.”
The pair met through a mutual friend on a night out and married in March 2013.
Jessica said: “He was very funny, though not always intentionally. I don’t know of anyone who met him who didn’t like him. He was so warm and very charismatic.”
Jason’s death is still under investigation by the Health and Safety Executive.