Brave dad loses fight for life

Andy Evans with Sharon and children Joseph and Thomas
Andy Evans with Sharon and children Joseph and Thomas

TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Wigan rugby player who has lost his brave battle with cancer.

Ex-St Patrick’s player Andy Evans passed away at St Catherine’s Hospice after a five-month illness surrounded by his family.

Andy, 40, enjoyed a stint at Wigan in the late eighties, playing first in the under-19s side and then the open age first team.

And today his St Pats team-mate David Jones paid tribute to his pal.

“He was a top fella and a true gent,” said David. “He was diagnosed last year and I was told earlier this month that he had been given a week to live. Leaving such a young family behind is devastating.”

Originally playing for Chorley, Andy transferred to the Wigan club in his late teens before moving on to Adlington Rangers.

David added: “He was a very nippy winger and had a good turn of pace. He joined St Pats with me from Chorley.I think he had trials for Lancashire too, which proves how good a player he was. He could possibly have gone further but he was very happy doing what he was doing. He didn’t lose his brave attitude, which you can tell with the way he dealt with his illness.”

Andy hung up his boots in 2007 to concentrate on his career. The welder and supervisor was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in August after suffering stomach problems, which were first believed to be caused by gallstones.

Andy has been described by family and friends as a happy-go-lucky man with an infectious personality. He leaves behind his devastated wife Sharon and two young sons Joseph, 11, and Thomas, seven. Sharon paid tribute to her husband’s courage and determination to get better, even when he was told there was no more he could do.

She said: “Andy was very brave in wanting to fight it and was so strong. We only got told on January 4 that he could not get any more treatment and even then he kept asking for more chemotherapy.”

Sharon added: “Andy always had time to listen and speak to people when he was out and about. He seemed to know everyone and was extremely outgoing. One of our happiest memories was when I organised a surprise trip to York for his 40th birthday. He had told us that he didn’t want a lot of fuss and he thought it was wonderful that I had managed to pull it off without him finding out. He was very proud of his two boys as well. ”

His funeral is on Friday at St Peter’s Church on Harpers Lane, Chorley at 2.45pm.