Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tragedy for Family Who Mourn Their Gentle Giant

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tragedy for Family Who Mourn Their Gentle Giant

Article excerpt

Byline: Lisa Hutchinson Reporter @lisachron

LARGER-THAN-LIFE gentle giant Phil Clark lived life to the full.

But on Christmas Day tragedy struck when the 49-year-old died on the sofa as family presents still laid under the tree.

Only hours before, Phil had been dancing in the kitchen with doting wife Kath, and the pair had put out each other's presents and for grandson Rhyan, 19.

But now Kath has opened her heart to pay tribute to the man who constantly made her laugh and wiped away her tears as she shared their true love story.

"We met on December 23, 1986, in the local pub.

"I had a lot of younger friends as I coached the netball team," said Kath, 67, of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland. "He was an old 18-yearold and I was a young 35-year-old, we met in the middle and no one ever thought we would last. Phil never thought I was older and I never thought he was younger, we were just Phil and Kath.

"We had an instant connection. After meeting in the pub we went to a party and started dating, the rest is history. Some were sceptical, even myself, but it never occurred to him that we wouldn't last. The weeks turned into months and it became 31 years. Despite some ups and downs, the only thing that has parted us is death."

Phil loved Christmas time, opening presents, laughing around board games, dancing in the kitchen and making Boxing Day lunch for the family.

But as the truck driver prepared for December 25 he suffered a massive heart attack due to coronary heart disease.

Kath, who has daughter Lynsey, 37, and son Matthew, 35, added: "We had been dancing in the kitchen, put out the presents and sat and talked. We were lying in bed watching Gogglebox laughing hilariously. We said 'good night' and 'I love you' and went to sleep. But at 2.25am I got up and Phil must have gone down stairs to lay on the sofa. I went to wake him and tell him to go back up but I realised he was dead. …

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