I lost my 23-year-old son in attack two weeks after his baby was born but I will ensure his legacy lives on

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The mum of a young Blackpool dad who died just two weeks after his daughter was born is hoping to create a lasting legacy for her “fun-loving” son.

23-year-old first time dad George Fenlon died in hospital on November 22, three months after he was assaulted on a night out in Blackpool.

Officers were called at approximately 2am on August 15 to The Strand in Blackpool, to a report of an assault, where they found that George, a bartender at Revolution Bar, had suffered serious head injuries.

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Describing how she felt when they got the call, George’s mum, Melissa Fenlon, 53, said: “We were all in shock, we weren’t sure what was happening. It was one of his friends who phoned, he said something had happened but no one was sure what. Then we heard George had gone to Royal Preston Hospital and we didn’t know why but when we got more information, we found out he had a serious head injury so Preston was the best place for him.

“His girlfriend was six-seven months pregnant at that time so we were all just in shock and when we saw him it was pretty horrific.”

From the moment George was sent to hospital, he never regained consciousness and two weeks before he passed, his girlfriend of seven years, Beth, gave birth to their daughter at RPH - named Clara Georgia Fenlon, after her father.

23-year-old George Fenlon passed away two weeks after his daughter Clara was born.23-year-old George Fenlon passed away two weeks after his daughter Clara was born.
23-year-old George Fenlon passed away two weeks after his daughter Clara was born. | submit

Despite being unable to communicate or speak to Clara, George, who himself lost his father when he was just eight years old, was able to meet his newborn daughter in the hospital, the pair spending two precious weeks together.

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First time grandma Melissa said: “Looking back now, I’m not sure how we all got through it, the range of emotions we had to go through was horrendous. 

“Beth wanted Clara to meet George and have a little bit of time with him so she had a C-section at Preston and she had a couple of weeks in hospital with him where she saw him everyday.

“It was important that she did that because we’ve got memories, we’ve got pictures. The hospital did a lot, we’ve also got little prints of Clara’s and George’s hands together.”

George and Beth had been together for seven years before his tragic death.George and Beth had been together for seven years before his tragic death.
George and Beth had been together for seven years before his tragic death. | submit

Following the death of former South Shore Academy pupil George, Rhys Jones, 26, of Hampton Street, Cannock, Staffordshire, was charged with murder and is due to stand trial on June 11.

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Commenting on the trial, Melissa, who lives with 23-year-old Beth, five-month-old Clara and Beth’s sister, told the Gazette “it’s not going to make much difference for me, I’ll be glad when it’s over.”

Instead a month after the trial begins, Melissa, Beth and everyone who knew George hope to celebrate his life during a special fundraising event called ‘The Fenlon Football Funday’.

Taking place at Stanley Park on July 13, the event combines two of George’s favourite things - football, as a dedicated Manchester United fan and casual football player, and fun.

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Melissa said: “He just wanted to make people laugh, he was a fun loving guy and very easy going, nothing really fazed him to be honest. Clara’s favourite TV show is Teletubbies and he was like a big teletubby I suppose, just daft and it’s sad that Clara will never experience that. 

“So the funday is for Clara and all of George’s friends, to keep his memory alive… George was just so popular that it’ll be nice for the youngsters of Blackpool not to be sad, but instead remember George through Clara.

“If it’s a success this year, I’m hoping it will be an annual event. It’s just what George was, he was a fun loving guy who loved his football, so it’s what Goerge would have wanted - for everyone to have a nice day.”

George, who was an only child, is pictured with his mum, Melissa.George, who was an only child, is pictured with his mum, Melissa.
George, who was an only child, is pictured with his mum, Melissa. | submit

On the day there will be a football tournament, featuring a bouncy castle, kids games, face paint, cupcake stalls and kids entertainment. 

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Revolution Bar are also continuing the celebrations in the evening and will be creating a cocktail in George’s name.

All proceeds from The Fenlon Football Funday and the sale of George’s Revolution cocktail will go towards Elliot’s place, a local charity dedicated to supporting young men with their mental health and well being. 

Melissa explained:  “Goerge’s friends have been struggling with his loss so the charity just spoke to me, it made sense.”

Encouraging people to come along, Melissa added: “Just come down to have a laugh, watch the football or it would be great if you could get your own team together.

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“I am also looking for people who would like to be involved in other ways, whether it be PR based, a prize for the raffle, a stall holder, children entertainer or musical acts.”

You can find out more about The Fenlon Football Funday by checking out the Facebook event or the website, where you can also register your football team.

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