The grieving family of a dedicated Latics fan have paid the perfect tribute to a “kind and funny” woman.
Annette Birchall, 45, lost her two-year battle with breast cancer last Thursday, leaving behind two sons and a husband.
The Pemberton mum-of-two was a longstanding season ticket holder at Wigan Athletic and spent many years going to the game with sons Louis, 21, and Sam, 17, as well as her husband of 25 years, Anthony.
In the wake of her death, the trio decided to pay Annette the tribute of a lifetime by organising a minute of clapping at the Latics FA Cup game against Manchester City on Monday evening.
“My mum had a season ticket for quite a few years,” said Louis. “Back in the day me, my dad, my brother and mum would all go to the game as a family.
“We just thought it was a nice way to respect her. It was on TV as well. We wanted to get City fans to join in to recognise that cancer has no colours.”
Annette, who was born on June 25 1972, was remembered by fans who clapped for a full 60 seconds during the 25th minute of the game at DW Stadium - a game which resulted in an amazing victory for the Latics.
“We originally asked the club for it to be put on the scoreboard at the 25th minute,” added Louis. “But we only tried asking on the day. She only passed away on Thursday.
“In the end, quite a lot of people took part. It was pretty good actually. A lot of people knew about it and we spread the word on Facebook.”
Louis attended the Monday night game with Sam and his dad. “We are a really close family,” he added. “My mum was a really kind, polite, outgoing person. She was pretty funny as well.”
Annette had fought off breast cancer once before, but sadly the disease returned for the second time and spread to her liver. She received treatment at St Helens Hospital oncology unit, The Lilac Centre.
“They did a really good job,” said Louis.
Her funeral is expected to take place at the end of next week.