The organiser of a major charity fund-raising day in memory of a young midwife has suffered his own personal tragedy after his wife died.
Tributes have been paid to Anne Bolton, who lost her battle with ovarian cancer aged 66 at her Standish home.
Anne played a major role in organising and ensuring the smooth running of the annual Amanda Penk Memorial Golf Day, founded by her husband John and which has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity.
Her heartbroken family spoke of the extraordinary, almost lifelong bond between Anne and her spouse which began when they walked into primary school together on their first day of classes.
She was also extremely well known as the bar manager of the popular Wiggin Tree restaurant on Parbold Hill for 19 years.
She was diagnosed in September 2016 and told the disease was already at an advanced stage, defying initial medical predictions to enjoy another 15 months of life before passing away on Saturday with her husband and children Stuart and Louise by her side.
John, 67, said: "She was my best friend. She was very straight-talking but she would help anyone with anything. It’s going to be hard without her.
"We were in the same class throughout school and on the first day we just walked in together.
"We played together when we were younger and then we started going out at secondary school, as you do at that age.
"She kept everything in order for the golf day and helped to set everything up and would look after people all day. In recent years she became my secretary in a sense, both for the charity day and work.
"She was quite well-known in Wigan through the golfing events and her work. She knew so many people from the Wiggin Tree, especially those who went every week.
"She knew exactly what she wanted when she was diagnosed and we’ve stuck to that. She didn’t want to go into hospital, she wanted to stay at home."
Louise, 42, said: "She was the one everyone would go to and if you asked her for advice on something she would give it. She also took on a major role when the grandchildren came along."
Anne and John were both born and brought up in Skelmersdale, marrying aged 19 and 20 respectively.
After living in Appley Bridge for 24 years and Shevington for a short time they spent several years in South Africa and Germany with John’s work before returning to live in Swinley and finally in Standish.
The pair proved a formidable team raising money for good causes through the annual golf day which started when Louise’s best friend Amanda, who was also training to be a midwife, died of a brain haemorrhage.
The events have raised around £65,000, originally to revitalise the maternity unit at Wigan Infirmary and now for a range of causes close to the hearts of Amanda’s family.
Anne was helped by Wigan and Leigh Hospice during her cancer battle as well as by the staff at Mesnes View Surgery and John heaped praise on the health service.
He said: "We’re going to do the golf day for the hospice this year because they were extremely good, the nurse came every week.
The surgery was also excellent. Anne really liked Dr Molyneux and he came to see her every week.
"You couldn’t wish for better support than we have had. It has been superb.
"She didn’t want carers coming in looking after her. She only went to The Christie once and told the professor and the doctor at her bedside that if she was terminally ill they should use the chemotherapy on someone they could make better instead."
Anne’s funeral will be held on Wednesday, January 31 at St Michael’s Church in Swinley at 1.30pm and Charnock Richard Crematorium at 3pm. A wake will be held at Ashfield House in Standish from 3.30pm. Anyone who knew her is welcome to attend.
She is survived by her brother Roy Melling, her husband John, children Stuart and Louise and grandchildren Olivia, Emily, Lola and Ronnie.