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Mourners wear rivals' shirts in tribute to Teesdale dad
A FAMILY has paid tribute to a newlywed father who was so popular mourners at his funeral wore a rival football team’s colours in his honour.
Christian Howey would have laughed to see friends and family wearing red and white to his funeral, including Newcastle supporters who wore their closest rivals’ colours as a tribute to the Sunderland fan.
Mr Howey was only 38 when he died on July 6, three-and-ahalf weeks after an operation to remove a non-cancerous tumour from his pancreas.
His wife, Joanne, said: “He was a big joker.
“The whole funeral was red and white – people came in Sunderland shirts, we played the Romeo and Juliet music that the team used to come out to and even his coffin was red and white.
“It was very Christian – he’d have found it funny.”
Mr Howey, who shared his passion for football with twoyear- old son Toby Christian and stepchildren Elanor, William and Scarlett Kipling, was a Sunderland season ticket holder and has a name brick in the Stadium of Light wall.
It was his family that Mr Howey, of Gainford, in Teesdale, cared most about.
Mrs Howey said: “The day he had a little boy he was so proud, but he loved all the children the same – he always said he was a proud dad of four children. He always put his family first.
“He was a very positive person and his first concern was for us.”
In March, Mr Howey discovered he had a 7cm tumour on his pancreas and, though benign, was advised to have it removed.
Knowing he faced surgery, Mr and Mrs Howey, who at the time were engaged, moved forward their wedding plans and married on April 28 and enjoyed a honeymoon in Turkey.
On June 11, Mr Howey had surgery and it is thought he developed internal bleeding and septicaemia, though the exact cause of his death has yet to be determined at an inquest.
A railway operator at Darlington train station, Mr Howey was described as funny, thoughtful and loving.
His mother, Lesley Howey, said: “He had a really quirky sense of humour, made everybody laugh and always had a quick comeback.”
His sister, Laura Kidd, said: “He was a loving, traditional man with old-fashioned values.
“It is a shame he’ll never know just how loved he was.”
Mr Howey’s family are seeking legal advice about the medical treatment he received.